Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026568, Mon, 26 Oct 2015 12:01:50 -0200

RES: [NABOKV-L] Odon, Nodo & narstran in Pale Fire
Sklyarenko: “In his Commentary Kinbote mentions narstran, a hellish hall in a Zemblan legend [ ] According to Kinbote, Odon (… )has a half-brother Nodo (b. 1916, son of Leopold O'Donnell and of a Zemblan boy impersonator; a cardsharp and despicable traitor; Index to PF). Odon = Nodo = odno (neut. of odin, “one”)… [ ] … In a letter of Feb. 27, 1907, to Valentina Verigin (1882-1974), the actress and memoirist, Alexander Blok says that there are moments in which he feels that he and Leonid Andreev are odno (one) [ ] Narstran combines nár (Old Norse, “corpse; deceased man”) with strana (Russ., “land”), but also brings to mind Chatski’s words in Griboedov’s play in verse Gore ot uma (“Woe from Wit,” 1824): Ya stranen; a ne stranen kto zh? / Tot, kto na vsekh gluptsov pokhozh (“I’m strange; and who is not strange? / He who looks like all fools.” Act III, scene 1; see my post of Oct. 8, 2015..”

Jansy Mello: I’d like to invite VN-List’s attention to a former ( not replied and not commented upon) posting by Victor Fet, sent to the VN-L in Oct. 8, 2015

"Narstran" can also be easily read as abbreviated Nar[odnaya] Stran[a] ("People's Country", i.e. the USSR), if modeled after standard Soviet abbreviations of 1920-1930s -- such as Narkomat = Nar[odnyi] Kom[issariat], i.e. People's Commissariat, headed by a Narkom [People's Comissar]. A remarkable "Narobraz" meant the educational system [Nar[odnoe] obraz[ovanie]; note that "obraz" also means an icon.

Abbreviations of this kind were an important part of Soviet Newspeak. Soviet Narkoms enjoyed ugly titles ranging from Narkomvoenmor ["People's Comissar of Army and Navy" = Trotsky] to Narkompros ["People's Comissar of Enlightenment" = Lunacharsky]. The latter was used by Vladimir Maiakovskii in his mockery of the famous last line of Alexander Blok's The Twelve:

V belom venchike iz roz [In a white wreath of roses]

Lunacharsky – Narkompros (Maiakovskii's version instead of Blok's "Vperedi - Isus Khristos", i.e. "Jesus Christ leading") – Victor FET

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