Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025747, Thu, 2 Oct 2014 00:23:03 +0300

Lord Goal and Charlie Chose in Ada
Western Europe presented a particularly glaring gap: ever since the eighteenth century, when a virtually bloodless revolution had dethroned the Capetians and repelled all invaders, Terra's France flourished under a couple of emperors and a series of bourgeois presidents, of whom the present one, Doumercy, seemed considerably more lovable than Milord Goal, Governor of Lute! (2.2)

Terra convalesced after enduring the rack and the stake, the bullies and beasts that Germany inevitably generates when fulfilling her dreams of glory. Russian peasants and poets had not been transported to Estotiland, and the Barren Grounds, ages ago - they were dying, at this very moment, in the slave camps of Tartary. Even the governor of France was not Charlie Chose, the suave nephew of Lord Goal, but a bad-tempered French general. (5.5)

On Antiterra Paris is also known as Lute. In his poem Ya molyu, kak zhalosti i milosti... ("France, like pity and grace I want your land and honeysuckle," 1937) Mandelshtam (the poet who died in a Soviet labor camp) says:

А теперь в Париже, в Шартре, в Арле
Государит добрый Чаплин Чарли —
And now in Paris, in Chartres, in Arles
the good Charlie Chaplin rules supreme.

Chose is Van's and Demon's English University. It corresponds to our world's Cambridge, VN's alma mater. In his sonnet Sport (1913) Mandelshtam mentions Oxford and Cambridge, two riverside schools:

Средь юношей теперь — по старине
Цветёт прыжок и выпад дискобола,
Когда сойдутся в лёгком полотне,
Оксфорд и Кэмбридж — две приречных школы.

Both Van and his father are good sportsmen:

'Yes, oh, yes,' said Demon. 'Ah, my dear, you should not think up dinners all by yourself. Now about rowing - you mentioned rowing... Do you know that moi, qui vous parle, was a Rowing Blue in 1858? Van prefers football, but he's only a College Blue, aren't you Van? I'm also better than he at tennis - not lawn tennis, of course, a game for parsons, but "court tennis" as they say in Manhattan. What else, Van?'
'You still beat me at fencing, but I'm the better shot.' (1.38)

Mandelshtam (who, like VN, finished the Tenishev school in St. Petersburg) is the author of "Football" (1913), "Second Football" (1913) and "Tennis" (1913). In a Cambridge football team VN was the goalkeeper. "Lord Goal" makes one think of Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile that stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l'Etoile). "A bad-tempered French general" is, of course, Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970).

Alexey Sklyarenko

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu
Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
AdaOnline: "http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/
The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada: http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html
The VN Bibliography Blog: http://vnbiblio.com/
Search the archive with L-Soft: https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A0=NABOKV-L

Manage subscription options :http://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=NABOKV-L