NABOKV-L post 0018973, Fri, 18 Dec 2009 13:56:28 +0300

name-and-patronymic of the hero of VN's LATH
We know the hero of VN's Look at the Harlequins! only by his name-and-patronymic: Vadim Vadimovich. As he himself points out (Part Seven, 3), in rapid Russian speech the long "Vladimir Vladimirovich" becomes colloquially similar to "Vadim Vadimych."

In his Russian poem O pravitelyakh (On the Rulers, 1945) Nabokov mentions his "late namesake," the poet Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (1893-1930). Speaking of himself in his poems, Mayakovsky used to shorten his name-and-patronymic to "Vladim Vladimych." In his Yubileynoe (The Anniversary Poem, 1924) there are lines:

Вот и любви пришёл каюк,
Дорогой Владим Владимыч.
Нет, не старость этому имя!
Тушу вперёд стремя,
Я с удовольствием справлюсь с двоими,
А разозлить - и с тремя.

It's the end of love,
Dear Vladim Vladimych.
No, its name is not old age!
Pushing forth my bulky self,
I can cope with pleasure with two,
And if made angry, with three.

In this poem, Mayakovsky addresses Pushkin and says that, after his, Mayakovsky's, death, they are to stand almost beside each other. "Your name begins with a P and my name with an M, who's between us?" (my paraphrase). Mayakovsky mentions the intruder Nadson (who will be asked to move to the letter Щ at the end of the alphabet) and Nekrasov, Kolya, son of the late Alyosha (good poet, good gambler, a good company). Then he moves on to living poets: Bezymensky ("Mr. Nameless"), Aseev, Esenin...

Old Vadim Vadimych forgets his family name (that begins with an N and bears an odd resemblance to the name of his maker, with whom V.V.'s compatriots constantly confuse him) during his illness, then remembers it but doesn't tell us.
In his youth, Vadim had a sexual adventure with two ladies.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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