NABOKV-L post 0025645, Tue, 26 Aug 2014 19:19:33 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] alas, poor reader!
Alexey Sklyarenko:[...] "The author of The Sevastopol Stories (1855) and War
and Peace (1863-69), Tolstoy participated in the Crimean War (1853-56).
Voina i mir ("War and Peace") rhymes with Shekspir (Shakespeare).

In Zametki perevodchika II ("A Translator's Notes," Part Two) VN makes fun
of Brodsky ("Alas, poor Brodsky!" etc.), but he also points out the mistakes
in, say, H. Dupont's French version (1847) of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin:

(According to Brodsky, Onegin's bolivar points at certain public opinions of
its owner who sympathizes with the struggle for independence of a small
nation in South America.)"

Jansy Mello: Alexey mentioned Onegin's "bolivar" and I was surprised by the
term because I'd never heard about a "bolivar" headwear until then (I had
seen pictures of "bowler hats" only).

A bit of investigative work led me to an interesting information in

where the author mentions the Brazilian gauchos, who are often depicted in
typically large pantaloons ("bombacha") and the belief that such innovative
fashion was stimulated by English traders at the time of the Crimean war
(1853-1856). These comfortable pants, favored by the Turks, were mainly
produced in England and now, unable to export them to their usual costumers
because of the war, the merchants established a new market for them in South
America, not only by shipping "bombachas" but, also, bowler hats now worn by
the Bolivian "cholas".

I wonder if the word "bolivar" (for a certain kind of top hat) was
originally employed by V.Nabokov himself in EO or if it is still in use.

In the NY Times archives, according to John Leonard (Nov.2003) Pushkin was".
of course, short -- a ''small, swarthy, apelike poet,'' 5-foot-6, with pale
blue eyes, unsightly side whiskers and clawlike fingernails, sometimes to be
seen wearing a black frock coat and silk top hat like Bolivar's, sometimes
with a fez and Turkish pantaloons -- and a surprising snob, boasting that
his father's boyar side of the family went back 600 years. (On his mother's
side, notoriously, there was that ''blackamoor'' great-grandfather from
Cameroon, purchased in Constantinople's slave market as a gift for Peter the
Great, who grew up to marry a Swede and become a general.) None of which
interfered with Aleksandr's inordinate fondness for smoked sturgeon, Rossini
operas and women with small feet. ''In such cases,'' he confided to a
friend, ''I usually write elegies, as another has wet dreams.

In Nabokov's wording, in his EO commentary- One XLVIII- p.177 (Princeton
Bollingen ed) we read: ".he is a shortish man wearing a Bolivar top
hat([.]), the tapering pantaloons of the times, and an hourglass-shaped,
long=skirted frock coat with two back-waist buttons. He is leaning at ease
with his left elbow on the parapet."

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