Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026236, Fri, 19 Jun 2015 22:12:51 -0400

Fwd: candlestick,
Juvenal & Petronius in Calmbrood's poem The Night Journey
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Alexey Sklyarenko <skylark1970@mail.ru>
Date: Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 10:29 AM
Subject: candlestick, Juvenal & Petronius in Calmbrood's poem The Night
To: "NABOKV-L, English" <nabokv-l@holycross.edu>

In Vivian Calmbrood’s poem “The Night Journey” (1931) Chenston (the
fictitious poet to whom Pushkin ascribed “The Covetous Knight”) mentions a
certain Johnson whom they beat with a candlestick for a marked article:

Дни Ювенала отлетели.
Не воспевать же, в самом деле,
как за краплёную статью
побили Джонсона шандалом?

Johnson = Ivanov. “A marked article” is G. Ivanov’s abusive review in *Chisla
*(*The Numbers, *No. 1, 1930) of Sirin’s novels and stories. According to
Chenston, the days of Juvenal have passed. A few lines further into the
poem Chenston mentions “a new Petronius” who with a half-smile on his lips
and with the last turquoise rose in his fingers is getting into the bath:

Ущерб, закат... Петроний новый
с полуулыбкой на устах,
с последней розой бирюзовой
в изящно сложенных перстах,
садится в ванну.

G. Ivanov is the author of “Roses” (1930), a collection of verses. Suicide
is a major theme in G. Ivanov’s poetry. The characters in G. Ivanov’s
novel *Tretiy
Rim* (“The Third Rome,” the first part was published in 1929) include a
*shuler* (cardsharp) on whose forehead there is a scar left by a

Седоватый господин, породистого и высокомерного вида, с рубцом на лбу,
чистивший грушу, был матёрым шулером: рубец, похожий на след от сабли, был
следом от подсвечника. (chapter II)

In G. Ivanov’s novel the action takes place in St. Petersburg (“the Third
Rome”) in 1916. The name and patronymic of the novel’s main character,
Boris Nikolaevich Yur’ev, hints at Andrey Bely (B. N. Bugaev, 1880-1934),
the author of *Peterburg* (1915). St. Petersburg is VN’s home city.
Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin (who also was born “upon the Neva’s banks”) had
enough knowledge of Latin to descant on Juvenal (One: VI: 3-5). In a
dropped introduction to EO Pushkin mentions, among other writers, Juvenal
and Petronius:

Juvenal, Catullus, Petronius, Voltaire, and Byron far from seldom failed to
retain due respect toward readers and toward the fair sex.

Incidentally, G. Adamovich (the critic who, like G. Ivanov, is satirized in
“The Night Journey”) and G. Ivanov completed the Russian translation of
Voltaire’s *Pucelle d’Orléans* (1755). The poem’s first twenty-five lines
were translated by Pushkin in 1825, in Mikhaylovskoe. It was Gumilyov (the
poet who in August, 1921, was executed by the Bolsheviks) who for Gorky’s
publishing house *Vsemirnaya literatura* (“The World Literature”) took over
the translation of *La Pucelle *but whom death prevented to finish it.

*La Pucelle* is Jeanne d’Arc (1412-31), French national heroine and martyr
who raised the siege of Orléans*. *Pushkin’s la*s*t article (a literary
hoax) was* Posledniy iz svoistvennikov Ioanny d’Ark* (“The Last of Jeanne
d’Arc’s Relatives,” 1837). The poems in VN’s collection of stories and
poems *Vozvrashchenie Chorba* (“The Return of Chorb,” 1928) criticized by
G. Ivanov include *La Bonne Lorraine* (1924):

Жгли англичане, жгли мою подругу,

на площади в Руане жгли её.

Палач мне продал черную кольчугу,

клювастый шлем и мёртвое копьё.

Ты здесь со мной, железная святая,

и мир с тех пор стал холоден и прост:

косая тень и лестница витая,

и в бархат ночи вбиты гвозди звёзд.

Моя свеча над ржавою резьбою

дрожит и каплет воском на ремни.

Мы, воины, летали за тобою,

в твои цвета окрашивая дни.

Но опускала ночь своё забрало,

и, молча выскользнув из лат мужских,

ты, белая и слабая, сгорала

в объятьях верных рыцарей твоих.

*La Bonne Lorraine *of the poem is Jeanne d’Arc.


Alexey Sklyarenko

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney
Co-Editor, NABOKV-L

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu
Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
AdaOnline: "http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/
The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada: http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html
The VN Bibliography Blog: http://vnbiblio.com/
Search the archive with L-Soft: https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A0=NABOKV-L

Manage subscription options :http://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=NABOKV-L