NABOKV-L post 0000859, Wed, 13 Dec 1995 08:56:12 -0800

Re: Query: VN & Akhmatova (fwd)
From: Alexander Dolinin <>

Nabokov wrote about Akhmatova in two of his "Rul'" book reviews --
a review of "Zodchii," a collection of emigre poetry (November 23, 1927),
and a review of Snesareva-Kazakova's poetic book "Da sviatitsia imia tvoe"
(October 24, 1928). In both cases he sounds condescending with respect to
Akhmatova herself ("poetessa prelestnaia, slov net") and overtly
devastating to her numerous imitators among female poets:
"[Akhmatova's influence] is irresistable and harmful. It is
Akhmatova who is responsible for this mixture of feminine "sinfulness" and
"piety", for these four-liners, in which the first two lines are assigned
to one thought, and the last, to another. Because of that such stanzas
resemble an etui with two compartments" (review of 1928, my translation).
Liza's poems in *Pnin* parody both Akhmatova's early poetry and her
followers. I believe Gene Barabtarlo discussed these lampoons of Akhmatova
and Akhmatovians in his book on *Pnin.*