Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026189, Thu, 21 May 2015 00:53:49 +0300

Lucette's & Demon's ends in Ada
Demon to Van: 'However, before I advise you of those two facts, I would like to know how long this - how long this has been...' ('going on,' one presumes, or something equally banal, but then all ends are banal - hangings, the Nuremberg Old Maid's iron sting, shooting oneself, last words in the brand-new Ladore hospital, mistaking a drop of thirty thousand feet for the airplane's washroom, being poisoned by one's wife, expecting a bit of Crimean hospitality, congratulating Mr and Mrs Vinelander -) (2.11)

The society nickname of Van's and Ada's father hints at Lermontov's poem The Demon (1829-40). At the family dinner in Ardis the Second Demon drinks Lord Byron's Hock: 'Ah!' said Demon, tasting Lord Byron's Hock. 'This redeems Our Lady's Tears.' (1.38) Lermontov's poem "Net, ya ne Bayron, ya drugoy..." ("No, I'm not Byron, I'm another..." 1832) ends in the lines:

Кто может, океан угрюмый,
Твои изведать тайны? кто
Толпе мои расскажет думы?
Я — или бог — или никто!
The gloomy ocean, who can
come to know your secrets? Who
will tell the crowd my thoughts?
Myself - or God - or nobody!

Van's and Ada's half-sister Lucette drowns herself in the Atlantic Ocean. Demon Veen perishes in a mysterious airplane disaster above the Pacific:

Furnished Space, l'espace meuble (known to us only as furnished and full even if its contents be 'absence of substance' - which seats the mind, too), is mostly watery so far as this globe is concerned. In that form it destroyed Lucette. Another variety, more or less atmospheric, but no less gravitational and loathsome, destroyed Demon.
Idly, one March morning, 1905, on the terrace of Villa Armina, where he sat on a rug, surrounded by four or five lazy nudes, like a sultan, Van opened an American daily paper published in Nice. In the fourth or fifth worst airplane disaster of the young century, a gigantic flying machine had inexplicably disintegrated at fifteen thousand feet above the Pacific between Lisiansky and Laysanov Islands in the Gavaille region. (3.7)

The anagram in my previous post includes Nuremberg, Bog (God) and nikto (nobody):

Nuremberg + ad/da + inkognito = erunda + Gremin + Bog + nikto

Alexey Sklyarenko

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