Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025522, Mon, 7 Jul 2014 15:42:05 +0300

Mr Brod or Bred & dream volcano in Ada
Ada's sister-in-law, Dorothy Vinelander marries a Mr Brod or Bred:

After helping her to nurse Andrey at Agavia Ranch through a couple of acrimonious years (she begrudged Ada every poor little hour devoted to collecting, mounting, and rearing!), and then taking exception to Ada's choosing the famous and excellent Grotonovich Clinic (for her husband's endless periods of treatment) instead of Princess Alashin's select sanatorium, Dorothy Vinelander retired to a subarctic monastery town (Ilemna, now Novostabia) where eventually she married a Mr Brod or Bred, tender and passionate, dark and handsome, who traveled in eucharistials and other sacramental objects throughout the Severniya Territorii and who subsequently was to direct, and still may be directing half a century later, archeological reconstructions at Goreloe (the 'Lyaskan Herculanum'); what treasures he dug up in matrimony is another question. (3.8)

Bred ("The Delirium," 1907) is a story by Kuprin. In Kuprin's story Svad'ba ("The Wedding," 1908) a play entitled Ne sprosyas' brodu, ne suysya v vodu ("Look before You Leap") is mentioned:

Там теперь веселье: в офицерском собрании бал и любительский спектакль - ставят "Лес" и "Не спросясь броду, не суйся в воду", - маскарад в гражданском клубе. (chapter 1)

In Kuprin's story Reka zhizni ("The River of Life," 1906) the student in a letter written before the suicide speaks of the terrible volcano eruption over his home country:

Я говорю тебе: над нашей родиной прошло ужасное вулканическое извержение. Вырвалось пламя долго сдержанного гнева и потопило все: боязнь завтрашнего дня, почтение к предкам, любовь к жизни, мирные сладости семейного благополучия. (chapter 4)

and of the present strashnoe, bredovoe vremya (horrible, nightmarish time):

В теперешнее страшное, бредовое время позорно, и тяжело, и прямо невозможно жить таким, как я.

Btw., the phrase i mnogoe, mnogoe drugoe ("and much, much more," the last words in Ada) also occurs in the student's letter:

Я ходил по карнизам от окна к окну на пятиэтажной высоте и глядел вниз, я заплывал так далеко в море, что руки и ноги отказывались служить мне, и я, чтобы избегнуть судороги, ложился на спину и отдыхал. И многое, многое другое. Наконец через десять минут я убью себя, а это тоже ведь чего-нибудь да стоит.

Ten minutes later, after finishing his letter, the student shoots himself dead. Van and Ada take poison given them by Dr Lagosse and die immediately after completing their Family Chronicle (5.6).

Dorothy preambled her long-delayed report on her pet nightmare with a humble complaint ('Of course, I know that for your patients to have bad dreams is a zhidovskaya prerogativa'), but her reluctant analyst's attention every time it returned to her from his plate fixed itself so insistently on the Greek cross of almost ecclesiastical size shining on her otherwise unremarkable chest that she thought fit to interrupt her narrative (which had to do with the eruption of a dream volcano) to say: 'I gather from your writings that you are a terrible cynic. Oh, I quite agree with Simone Traser that a dash of cynicism adorns a real man; yet I'd like to warn you that I object to anti-Orthodox jokes in case you intend making one.' (3.8)

Darkbloom ('Notes to Ada'): zhidovskaya: Russ. (vulg.), Jewish.

Kuprin is the author of Zhidovka ("The Jewess," 1904). In Kuprin's story "The Wedding" Slyozkin (an Anti-Semite) is invited to the Jewish wedding. On the eve Slyozkin had a dream for the first time in his life:

Ему даже казалось, что он видел в первый раз в своей жизни какой-то сон, но припомнить его не смог, как ни старался. (chapter 1)

Alexey Sklyarenko

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