Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025766, Mon, 13 Oct 2014 01:14:54 +0300

golden Gretchen & Kuenstlerpostkarte in Ada
In his first foramor Van chooses three girls:

After considerable examination, after much flattering of haunches and necks, I chose a golden Gretchen, a pale Andalusian, and a black belle from New Orleans. (2.3)

Gretchen (Margarete) is a character in Goethe's Faust (1808). Pushkin's Lenski studied in Germany, "under the sky of Schiller and Goehte" (Eugene Onegin, Two: IX: 6).

America + Flora + skin = Africa + Amor + Lenski

Pushkin wanted to leave Russia in order "beneath the sky of my Africa to sigh for somber Russia" (EO, One: L: 11-12).

In VN's Lolita (1955) Mrs. Richard F. Schiller is Lolita's married name. On Antiterra Lolita is a Gipsy girl in Osberg's novel The Gitanilla (1.13). According to Osberg, the gitanilla sequence in Don Juan's Last Fling, the movie that Van and Lucette watch in the Tobakoff cinema hall (the gitanilla is played by Ada), was stolen from his novel. According to Hool (the actor who played Don Juan in Yuzlik's movie), he was made to play an impossible cross between two Dons: initially the director had meant to base his 'fantasy' on Cervantes's crude romance (3.6). Alonso Quijano (Don Quixote's real name) brings to mind Alonso, the architect whose daughter ("a pale Andalusian") Van meets in his first floramor. Van mentions her as he and Ada look through Kim Beauharnais's album:

'The Twilight before the Lumieres. Hey, and here's Alonso, the swimming-pool expert. I met his sweet sad daughter at a Cyprian party - she felt and smelt and melted like you. The strong charm of coincidence.' (2.7)

The floramors are also known as Villa Venus. In Pushkin's Egyptian Nights (1835) Cleopatra calls Venus moshchnaya Kiprida ("powerful Cyprida").

Three Egyptian squaws, dutifully keeping in profile (long ebony eye, lovely snub, braided black mane, honey-hued faro frock, thin amber arms, Negro bangles, doughnut earring of gold bisected by a pleat of the mane, Red Indian hairband, ornamental bib), lovingly borrowed by Eric Veen from a reproduction of a Theban fresco (no doubt pretty banal in 1420 B.C.), printed in Germany (Kunstlerpostkarte Nr. 6034, says cynical Dr Lagosse), prepared me by means of what parched Eric called 'exquisite manipulations of certain nerves whose position and power are known only to a few ancient sexologists,' accompanied by the no less exquisite application of certain ointments, not too specifically mentioned in the pornolore of Eric's Orientalia, for receiving a scared little virgin, the descendant of an Irish king, as Eric was told in his last dream in Ex, Switzerland, by a master of funerary rather than fornicatory ceremonies. (2.3)

Kunstlerpostkarte: art picture postcard. (Darkbloom, 'Notes to Ada')

Looking through Kim Beauharnais's album, Van mentions the first indecent postcard:

Sunrise at Ardis. Congs: naked Van still cocooned in his hammock under the 'lidderons' as they called in Ladore the liriodendrons, not exactly a lit d'edredon, though worth an auroral pun and certainly conducive to the physical expression of a young dreamer's fancy undisguised by the network.
'Congratulations,' repeated Van in male language. 'The first indecent postcard. Bewhorny, no doubt, has a blown-up copy in his private stock.' (2.7)

According to Ada, in Kim's album there is an istoshniy ston ('visceral moan') of crippled art:

In an equally casual tone of voice Van said: 'Darling, you smoke too much, my belly is covered with your ashes. I suppose Bouteillan knows Professor Beauharnais's exact address in the Athens of Graphic Arts.'
'You shall not slaughter him,' said Ada. 'He is subnormal, he is, perhaps, blackmailerish, but in his sordidity, there is an istoshniy ston ('visceral moan') of crippled art. Furthermore, this page is the only really naughty one. And let's not forget that a copperhead of eight was also ambushed in the brush'.
'Art my foute. This is the hearse of ars, a toilet roll of the Carte du Tendre! I'm sorry you showed it to me. That ape has vulgarized our own mind-pictures. I will either horsewhip his eyes out or redeem our childhood by making a book of it: Ardis, a family chronicle.' (ibid.)

Pushkin's Lenski did not disgrace the exalted Muses of the art (EO, Two: IX: 9-10).

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