Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026165, Thu, 7 May 2015 21:00:17 -0400

Fwd: Monparnasse as intimate penname & diamonds in Ada
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Alexey Sklyarenko <skylark1970@mail.ru>
Date: Thu, May 7, 2015 at 7:41 AM
Subject: Monparnasse as intimate penname & diamonds in Ada
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@listserv.ucsb.edu>
Cc: Susan Elizabeth Sweeney <ssweeney@holycross.edu>

Yes! Wasn't that a scream? Larivière blossoming forth, bosoming forth as a
great writer! A sensational Canadian bestselling author! Her story 'The
Necklace' (*La rivière de diamants*) had become a classic in girls' schools
and her gorgeous pseudonym 'Guillaume de Monparnasse' (the leaving out of
the 't' made it more *intime*) was well-known from Quebec to Kaluga. (1.31)

In his Foreword to "Paul Verlaine. Poems Selected and Translated by F.
Sologub" (1908) Maximilian Voloshin says that he can hear the sounds
of *intimnyi
golos* (the intimate voice) in Lermontov's poetry, but does not hear them
in Pushkin:

Я слышу, например, звуки интимного голоса у Лермонтова, но не слышу их у

Like Montparnasse, the name Lermontov has *mont* in it. In his *Demon*
(1829-40) Lermontov compares Mount Kazbek to *gran' almaza* (a diamond's

И над вершинами Кавказа
Изгнанник рая пролетал:
Под ним Казбек, как грань алмаза,
Снегами вечными сиял...

In *Ada* Van mentions Granial Maza, the cheap Caucasian perfume of his
father's mistress:

His father saw him off. Demon had dyed his hair a blacker black. He wore a
diamond ring blazing like a Caucasian ridge. His long, black,
blue-ocellated wings trailed and quivered in the ocean breeze. *Lyudi
oglyadïvalis'* (people turned to look). A temporary Tamara, all kohl,
kasbek rouge, and flamingo-boa, could not decide what would please her
daemon lover more - just moaning and ignoring his handsome son or
acknowledging bluebeard's virility as reflected in morose Van, who could
not stand her Caucasian perfume, Granial Maza, seven dollars a bottle.

Darkbloom ('Notes to* Ada'*): Granial Maza: a perfume named after Mt
Kazbek’s *‘gran’ almaza’ *(diamond’s facet) of Lermontov’s *The Demon.*

In Part Three of *Ada* the corresponding lines from Lermontov's *Demon* are
paraphrased by Van:

Somehow, after the interchange occasioned by Lucette's death such
nonclandestine correspondence had been established with the tacit sanction
of Demon:

And o'er the summits of the Tacit
He, banned from Paradise, flew on:
Beneath him, like a brilliant's facet,
Mount Peck with snows eternal shone. (3.7)

In a draft of his *Gavriiliada* ("The Gavriliad," 1821) Pushkin mentions
the secret flowers of Parnassus and *arkhivy ada* (the archives of Hell):

О вы, которые любили
Парнаса тайные цветы
И своевольные мечты
Вниманьем слабым наградили,
Спасите труд небрежный мой
Под сенью покрова -
От рук невежества слепого,
От взоров зависти косой.
Картины, думы и рассказы
Для вас я вновь перемешал,
Смешное с важным сочетал
И бешеной любви проказы
В архивах ада отыскал...
I have mixed for you again
the pictures, thoughts and tales,
combined the funny with the serious
and discovered the pranks of a frenzied love
in the archives of hell.

Van's and Ada's father, Baron Demon Veen is "a Manhattan banker of ancient
Anglo-Irish ancestry" (1.1). In his poem *Russkaya revolyutsiya* ("The
Russian Revolution," 1920) Maximilian Voloshin says that in Russia we never
knew that "formidable demon, the Capital:"

А грозный демон — Капитал —
Властитель фабрик, Князь заботы,
Сущность отстоенной работы,
Преображённая в кристалл, —
Был нам неведом...

Alexey Sklyarenko

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney
Associate Professor of English
311 Fenwick Hall
College of the Holy Cross
Worcester, MA 01610-2395

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