Dolinin, Alexander. The Gift: Addendum to Commentary (Part Two). 2008

Author(s)
Bibliographic title
The Gift: Addendum to Commentary (Part Two)
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Online Journal
Periodical issue
v. 2
Publication year
Comment

In Russian.

Abstract

The second installment of the ongoing commentary to Nabokov's novel The Gift (see the first part published in NOJ, Vol. I, 2007). Dr. Dolinin is the commentator of the only authorized Russian edition of The Gift, published in the fourth volume of The Collected Works of Vladimir Nabokov in five volumes (1999-2001). During the seven years since the appearance of this long-awaited Russian edition of the novel, professor Dolinin has accumulated many new illuminating notes to the text which he plans to post in forthcoming issues of the Nabokov Online Journal. In the current issue, Dolinin explicates the meaning of the books that Yasha Chernyshevsky reads on the last night before his suicide - Annensky's and Khodasevich's volumes of poetry - as related to the destiny of the characters in The Gift. A careful reading of Annensky's poetry reveals certain suicidal trends that possibly appealed to a young poet in exile. In the next note Dolinin explores the traces of Alexander Blok in the narrative, explicating the relation of the episodic character Kern to the Pushkinian thread in the novel via the name of Anna Petrovna Kern, one of Pushkin's lovers. Dolinin continues his notes with the tentative identification of another minor fictional character of The Gift, German Ivanovich Busch, with the émigré publicist and poet Ilya Britan (1885-1941). This installment of Dolinin's commentary is complemented by some recently-discovered additional sources for Fyodor's father's scientific expeditions which Nabokov borrowed from the memoirs of famous Russian explorers.