NABOKV-L post 0007184, Fri, 29 Nov 2002 22:05:11 -0800

Fw: Fw: rainbows in ADA and in nature
Re: Fw: rainbows in ADA and in nature
----- Original Message -----
From: savely senderovich
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Friday, November 29, 2002 2:49 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: rainbows in ADA and in nature

Dear Alexey Sklyarenko,

A reference to Sluchevski in the beginning of Ada gives little ground for the understanding of an unconnected figure at the end. Violet Knox can be read in a different key: as Nochnaia Fialka (the Nocturnal Violet, a poem by A. Blok). After all, Ada calls her "Fialochka." A context that makes this surmise plausible is given in S. Senderovich and Yelena Schvarts, "The Juice of Three Oranges", Nabokov Studies 6.
Savely Senderovich

Dear all,

I was finishing my long account of rainbows in ADA late at night (well after 3 a. m.) the day before yesterday, so no wonder that my tired brain has suggested some fantastic colors for a natural rainbow. If I'm not mistaken again, violet, dark blue and blue are usually beyond our visual perception in a rainbow, only the rest of the prismatic spectrum being visible (still, I'm not quite sure about violet that sometimes can be seen, I think, against the background of a somber thundercloud, gently bordering green... not sure about it).
Nevertheless, I think that this curious slip of my visual memory doesn't undermine my rainbow theory completely. "The prism of his [Van's] mind" is another evidence that there can be here, at the end of the first chapter, if not the accomplished rainbow, then a kind of "chromatic scale" of colored allusions.
Note also that the name of Van's last secretary, who types out ADA for him, Violet Knox, can be interpreted as "the violet night". It is probably even darker than the "dark blue night" of Sluchevski (for those, who still doubts that there is a reference to Sluchevski here, I remind that the attic scene in ADA is a parody of a similar scene in the beginning of Sluchevski's narrative long poem Larchik, "A Little Casket". For many other allusions to Sluchevski in ADA, see my VN Symposium paper soon to appear on the VN Museum Web site).

Alexey Sklyarenko