Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025861, Fri, 28 Nov 2014 20:41:31 +0300

Yuzlik & Christopher Vinelander in Ada
Yuzlik was dying to say something. Van yielded to the well-meaning automaton.
‘I’m delighted and honored to dine with Vasco de Gama,’ said Yuzlik holding up his glass in front of his handsome facial apparatus.
The same garbling — and this gave Van a clue to Yuzlik’s source of recondite information — occurred in The Chimes of Chose (a memoir by a former chum of Van’s, now Lord Chose, which had climbed, and still clung to, the ‘best seller’ trellis — mainly because of several indecent but very funny references to the Villa Venus in Ranton Brooks). (3.8)

Yuzlik is a Hollywood director whom Van meets at a dinner in the Bellevue Hotel and whom he mistakes for Ada's husband Andrey Vinelander. Andrey is "an Arizonian cattle-breeder whose fabulous ancestor discovered our country" (5.6). He has a brother named Christopher: when Van meets Greg Erminin in Paris, Greg asks Van (who says, incidentally, that he never saw Ada, a movie actress, on the screen), if Ada married Christopher Vinelander or his brother (3.2). In Tobakoff's cinema hall Van and Lucette watch Don Juan's Last Fling, Yuzlik's film in which Ada played the gitanilla. (3.5)

Young Van's stage name is Mascodagama. As a Chose student Van performs in variety shows dancing on his hands:

For the tango, which completed his number on his last tour, he was given a partner, a Crimean cabaret dancer in a very short scintillating frock cut very low on the back. She sang the tango tune in Russian:

Pod znoynim nebom Argentini,
Pod strastniy govor mandolini

‘Neath sultry sky of Argentina,
To the hot hum of mandolina. (1.30)

In Ilf and Petrov's Zolotoy telyonok ("The Little Colden Calf," 1931) Bender solo dances a tango to the tune Pod znoynim nebom Argentini. "Pod strastnyi ropot mandoliny" ("to the hot murmur of mandolina," as Bender puts it) the priests Kushakovski and Moroshek (the characters in the same novel) try to revert Adam Kozlevich (the driver of the Antelope Gnu car) to Roman Catholicism. For the Chernomorsk film studio Bender writes the shooting script entitled Sheya ("The Neck").

In Ilf and Petrov's "The Twelve Chairs" (1928) Bender and Vorob'yaninov visit the Columbus Theater and watch its avanguard production of Gogol's play Zhenit'ba ("The Marriage," 1842). The actor who plays Podkolyosin's valet Stepan appears on the stage walking on his hands.

In Ilf and Petrov's story "Колумб причаливает к берегу" ("Columbus Moors to the Shore," 1936) the producers invite Columbus to Hollywood where he is supposed to play Amerigo Vespucci. "You see, the real Christopher Columbus in the part of Amerigo Vespucci, this can be very interesting." Describing the script of the future movie (based on Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo), the natives of Hollywood mention Vasco da Gama:

Они не стали терять времени на любезности и сразу приступили к делу. Публисити начало оказывать своё магическое действие: Колумба пригласили в Голливуд.
— Понимаете, мистер Колумб, — втолковывали новые посетители, — мы хотим, чтобы вы играли главную роль в историческом фильме "Америго Веспуччи." Понимаете, настоящий Христофор Колумб в роли Америго Веспуччи — это может быть очень интересно. Публика на такой фильм пойдёт. Вся соль в том, что диалог будет вестись на бродвейском жаргоне. Понимаете? Не понимаете? Тогда мы вам сейчас всё объясним подробно. У нас есть сценарии. Сценарий сделан по роману Александра Дюма "Граф Монте-Кристо", но это не важно, мы ввели туда элементы открытия Америки.
Колумб пошатнулся и беззвучно зашевелил губами, очевидно читая молитвы. Но туземцы из Голливуда бойко продолжали:
— Таким образом, мистер Колумб, вы играете роль Америго Веспуччи, в которого безумно влюблена испанская королева. Он в свою очередь так же безумно влюблён в русскую княгиню Гришку. Но кардинал Ришелье подкупает Васко де Гаму и при помощи леди Гамильтон добивается посылки вас в Америку. Его адский план прост и понятен. В море на вас нападают пираты. Вы сражаетесь, как лев. Сцена на триста метров. Играть вы, наверно, не умеете, но это не важно.

"Cardinal Richelieu bribes Vasco da Gama and with the help of Lady Hamilton succeeds in sending you to America. His adskiy (infernal) plan is simple and clear."

Юзлик + лилия = иллюзия + Лик
Юзлик + ковчег + пол = Козлевич + юг + полк/клоп
Юзлик + шарф/фарш + Ада = шлюз + Африка + ад/да = люк + шарада + метафизика + мат - математика

Юзлик - Yuzlik
лилия - lily (the flower on the arms of France; Fleur-de-Lys is a character in Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris, 1831)
иллюзия - illusion
Лик - Lik, the eponymous character in a story (1939) by VN, Russian actor in France "who had previously won some fame, thanks to a film in which he did an excellent job in the bit part of a stutterer" (in the English version, Lik is the stage name of Lavrentiy Ivanovich Kruzhevnitsyn); лик - obs., countenance; face
ковчег - ark; shrine; in "The Twelve Chairs" the steamer Skryabin (onboard which the company of the Columbus Theater goes down the Volga) is compared to Noah's ark
пол - floor; sex (cf. "the unclean pair" onboard Skryabin)
Козлевич - Adam Kozlevich
юг - South
полк - regiment
клоп - bedbug
шарф - scarf; Marina's lover Pedro (a young Latin actor) left behind his practically new Peruvian scarf; Van refuses to take it as a present from Marina (1.37)
фарш - force-meat; sausage-meat; stuffing
Ада - Ada
шлюз - lock, sluice, floodgate
Африка - Africa
ад - hell
да - yes
люк - hatch; manhole; sky-light
шарада - charade
метафизика - metaphysics
мат - checkmate; mat; foul language
математика - mathematics

In Lik and Zud (Itch, 1940), VN's self-parody on Lik, a new pair shoes (cf. "old Paar of Chose," a Professor at Van's University) plays an important part. In Novoe Russkoe Slovo (a Russian-language newspaper in NY) Zud was signed Ridebis Semper (one-time penname). In Hugo's L'Homme qui rit Ursus says to Gwynplaine whose face was disfigured by the comprachicos (child buyers): "masca eris, et ridebis semper" ("you'll be a mask and you'll always laugh").

Alexey Sklyarenko

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