Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026713, Sun, 20 Dec 2015 17:52:49 +0300

nostragram; Bera range & Great Beaver in Pale Fire
One of the anagraduses (anagrams with Gradus) in my previous post can be
continued as follows:

Saltan + Borodino + zhena + Marksizm + raduga = Stalin + boroda + nozh +
izmena + marka/karma/Makar + Gradus = Nostradamus + kniga + zhaloba +
mir/Rim + rezon + ad/da

kniga - book

zhaloba - complaint; cf. Dorozhnye zhaloby ("Road Complaints," 1830), a poem
by Pushkin

mir - world; peace; cf. Voina i mir ("War and Peace," 1869), a novel by

Rim - Rome

rezon - obs., reason

ad -hell

da - yes

Re Borodino and boroda (beard): in VN's novel Lolita (1955) Quilty, trying
to divert Humbert Humbert's attention, mentions the Bagration Island in the
Barda Sea:

Oh, another thing - you are going to like this. I have an absolutely unique
collection of erotica upstairs. Just to mention one item: the in folio
de-luxe Bagration Island by the explorer and psychoanalyst Melanie Weiss, a
remarkable lady, a remarkable work - drop that gun - with photographs of
eight hundred and something male organs she examined and measured in 1932 on
Bagration, in the Barda Sea, very illuminating graphs, plotted with love
under pleasant skies - drop that gun - and moreover I can arrange for you to
attend executions, not everybody knows that the chair is painted yellow"

General Bagration was mortally wounded in the battle of Borodino. Bagration
(a Georgian Prince) had a very big nose and Denis Davydov (the bearded poet
and partisan who also participated in the battle of Borodino) had a very
small one. In his "Old Notebook" Vyazemski tells an amusing anecdote about
Bagration and Davydov:

Денис Давыдов во время сражения докладывал князю Багратиону, по поручению
начальствующего отдельным отрядом, что неприятель на носу. "Теперь, -
говорит князь Багратион, - нужно знать, на каком носу: если на твоём, то
откладывать нечего и должно идти на помощь; если на моём, то спешить ещё ни
к чему".

Bagration plays on the phrase nepriyatel' na nosu (the enemy is very near;
literally: "on the nose") used by Davydov. In PF Gradus thought that
Izumrudov was onhava-onhava ("very, very far" in Zemblan). In Nostradamus
there is nos (Russ., nose).

In order to reach the sea and escape from Zembla in a motorboat awaiting him
in a sea cave, the King has to get over the Bera range. Bera = bear. Pushkin
is the author of Skazka o medvedikhe ("The Fairy-Tale about the She-Bear,"
1830). The name of baba Babarikha (a villain in Pushkin's "Fairy Tale about
the Tsar Saltan") rhymes with povarikha (the female cook, another evil
character in "The Fairy Tale about the Tsar Saltan"), but also with bobrikha
(she-beaver). Kinbote (whose brown beard is of a rather rich tint and
texture) was nicknamed "the great Beaver." According to Kinbote, he is a
strict vegetarian (like all rodents, beavers are vegetarians) and likes to
cook his own meals.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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