Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025658, Tue, 2 Sep 2014 15:05:16 +0300

ivanilich in Ada (additions & corretions)
And when Van, having kissed her freckled hand, lowered himself on the ivanilich (a kind of sighing old hassock upholstered in leather): 'Van, dear, I wish to say something to you, because I know I shall never have to repeat it again.' (1.37)

Darkbloom ('Notes to Ada'): Ivanilich: a pouf plays a marvelous part in Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich, where it sighs deeply under a friend of the widow's.

The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the favorite book of Nikolay Petrovich Yatsenko, the investigator in Aldanov's novels "The Key" and "The Escape." In "The Key" Yatsenko meets Fomin (a young lawyer) at an antiquary's where there is a lot of old furniture:

У антиквара Яценко не боялся соблазнов, так всё там было недоступно для него по ценам. Но ему неловко было часто заходить в магазин, где он никогда ничего не покупал.
Магазин этот в последнее время вошёл в моду. В двух густо заставленных комнатах было всё: гравюры, картины, фарфор, безделушки, книги. Всего больше было старинной мебели. (Part One, chapter XVI)

There are poufs in Kremenetsky's boudoir:

Ещё в другом роде был будуар, расположенный между кабинетом и гостиной. Здесь всё было чрезвычайно уютное и несколько миниатюрное: небольшие шёлковые кресла, низенькие пуфы, качалка в маленькой нише, крошечная полка с произведениями поэтов, горка русского фарфора и портрет Генриха Гейне в золотой рамке венком, искусно составленным из лавров и терний. ("The Key," Part One, chapter X)

Mme Fisher's lawyer, Kremenetsky dies in emigration of sakharnaya bolezn' (diabetes). Sakhar means "sugar." Van drinks tea with lots of cream and three lumps of sugar:

‘Slivok (some cream)? I hope you speak Russian?' Marina asked Van, as she poured him a cup of tea.
‘Neohotno no sovershenno svobodno (reluctantly but quite fluently),' replied Van, slegka ulibnuvshis' (with a slight smile). ‘Yes, lots of cream and three lumps of sugar.'
‘Ada and I share your extravagant tastes. Dostoevski liked it with raspberry syrup.'
‘Pah,' uttered Ada. (1.5).

According to Fomin, Krementski knows Dostoevski (the favorite writer of Musya, Kremenetski's daughter) as good as the code and often quotes him in his court speeches:

— Нет, это дело не для них. Меннер хорош в военном. Якубович — да, пожалуй, при разборе улик Якубович на высоте. А все-таки, где яд, кинжал, револьвер, серная кислота, там Сёма незаменим. Он вам и народную мудрость зажарит, он и стишок скажет, он и Грушеньку, и Настасью Филипповну запустит.
— Достоевского знает, как сенатские решения, — с уважением подтвердил Фомин. ("The Key," Part One, chapter X)

Dostoevski is the author of Mal'chik u Khrista na Yolke ("The Little Boy at Christ's Christmas Tree," 1877). Marina fell in love with Demon on New Year's Eve (1.2). Grigoriy Akimovich Vronsky ("Gavronsky"), the movie man who left Marina for another Khristosik (little Christ) as he called all pretty starlets (1.3), and Grigiriy Arkadievich (Greg) Erminin are the namesakes of Grigoriy Efimovich Rasputin (who was murdered in the last days of 1916). As he speaks to Don Pedro (a "namesake" of Marina's lover Pedro) in the apartment No. 4 where Fisher's dead body was found, the policeman mentions Grishka [Rasputin]:

Беда, просто беда. Да ведь ясное дело, сказал, понижая голос, помощник пристава, немцам через Гришку всё известно, что у нас в штабе делается. Говорят, двести семьдесят тысяч отвалили ему немцы чистоганом. Видно, дело идёт к сепаратному? ("The Key," Part One, chapter III)

In "The Escape" Fedosiev visits the Yusupov palace at the Moyka Canal where Rasputin was assassinated:

Окна Юсуповского дворца горели оранжевыми огнями... "Вот, помнится, где это было, - подумал он. Отсюда он побежал вот к тем воротам. Там его добили..."
На месте, где добили Распутина, работал лопатой человек. (Part One, chapter XVII)

The Nabokov house in the Morskaya Street is situated not too far from the Yusupov palace. VN finished the Tenishev school in St. Petersburg. Vitya Yatsenko (Nikolay Petrovich's son) is also a Tenishevets.

'I had hoped you'd sleep here,' said Marina (not really caring one way or another). 'What is your room number at the hotel - not 222 by any chance?'
She liked romantic coincidences. Demon consulted the tag on his key: 221 - which was good enough, fatidically and anecdotically speaking. Naughty Ada, of course, stole a glance at Van, who tensed up the wings of his nose in a grimace that mimicked the slant of Pedro's narrow, beautiful nostrils. (1.38)

222 + 221 = 443

4 + 4 + 3 = 11

4 + 43 = 44 + 3 = 47 (VN's address was 47, Bolshaya Morskaya Street)

Did Van like music? Sportsmen usually did, didn't they? Would he care to have a Sonorola by his bed? No, he disliked music, but did the doctor, being a concert-goer, know perhaps where a musician called Rack could be found? 'Ward Five,' answered the doctor promptly. Van misunderstood this as the title of some piece of music and repeated his question. Would he find Rack's address at Harper's music shop? Well, they used to rent a cottage way down Dorofey Road, near the forest, but now some other people had moved in. Ward Five was where hopeless cases were kept. The poor guy had always had a bad liver and a very indifferent heart, but on top of that a poison had seeped into his system; the local 'lab' could not identify it and they were now waiting for a report, on those curiously frog-green faeces, from the Luga people. If Rack had administered it to himself by his own hand, he kept 'mum'; it was more likely the work of his wife who dabbled in Hindu-Andean voodoo stuff and had just had a complicated miscarriage in the maternity ward. Yes, triplets - how did he guess? Anyway, if Van was so eager to visit his old pal it would have to be as soon as he could be rolled to Ward Five in a wheelchair by Dorofey, so he'd better apply a bit of voodoo, ha-ha, on his own flesh and blood. (1.42)

Ward No. 6 (1892) is a story by Chekhov.

6 + 5 = 11

Numbers and rows and series - the nightmare and malediction harrowing pure thought and pure time - seemed bent on mechanizing his mind. Three elements, fire, water, and air, destroyed, in that sequence, Marina, Lucette, and Demon. Terra waited. (3.1)

Arkadina [in Chekhov's Seagull] can not live without the durman (intoxicant) of stage (instead of "scene" in my post "aqua tofana & belladonna in Ada").

Alexey Sklyarenko

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