NABOKV-L post 0018985, Tue, 22 Dec 2009 00:56:32 +0300

Bulgarian allusions
Vadim Vadimovich writes about his surname that he can not remember:

"I definitely felt my family name began with an N and bore an odious resemblance to the surname or pseudonym of a presumably notorious (Notorov? No) Bulgarian, or Babylonian, or, maybe, Betelgeusian writer with whom scatterbrained emigres from some other galaxy constantly confused me; but whether it was something on the lines of Nebesnyy or Nabedrin or Nablidze (Nablidze? Funny) I simply couldn't tell. I preferred not to overtax my willpower (go away, Naborcroft) and so gave up trying - or perhaps it began with a B and the n just clung to it like some desperate parasite?"

If V. V.'s family name is Blagidze (as I believe Don Johnson also thinks), then it resembles Blagoev, a rather frequent surname in Bulgaria. Dimitr Blagoev (1856-1924) was the founder and leader of the Bulgarian Communist party. He happens to be a namesake of Dmitri Insarov, the hero of Turgenev's novel Nakanune (On the Eve, 1860), a Bulgarian insurgent. The names Insarov and Starov (the name of Iris's murderer, with which Insarov rhymes) have the letters a, o, r, s, v and the names Insarov and Sirin (Nabokov's Russian nom de plume) the letters i, n, r, s, in common.


Alexey Sklyarenko

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