name of Luzhin's wife

Submitted by Alexey Sklyarenko on Wed, 05/25/2022 - 22:31

The action in VN’s novel Zashchita Luzhina (The Luzhin Defense, 1930) begins on Saturday, August 28, 1910 (OS), Leo Tolstoy’s eighty-second birthday. Tolstoy is the author of Voskresenie ("Resurrection," 1899). Voskresen’ye is Russian for “Sunday.” In VN's play Sobytie ("The Event," 1938) the action takes place on Sunday, August 28, 1938. The play’s main character, the portrait painter Troshcheykin, has the same name and patronymic as Aleksey Maksimovich Peshkov (Maxim Gorky’s real name). Gorky is the author of Dvadtsat’ shest’ i odna (“Twenty-Six Men and One Girl,” 1899). The girl’s name in Gorky’s story is Tanya. In Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin (Eight: XLV: 1) Princess N. (Tatiana Larin’s married name) calls herself Tanya:

 

«Я плачу… если вашей Тани
Вы не забыли до сих пор,
То знайте: колкость вашей брани,
Холодный, строгий разговор,
Когда б в моей лишь было власти,
Я предпочла б обидной страсти
И этим письмам и слезам.
К моим младенческим мечтам
Тогда имели вы хоть жалость,
Хоть уважение к летам…
А нынче! — что к моим ногам
Вас привело? какая малость!
Как с вашим сердцем и умом
Быть чувства мелкого рабом?

 

I'm crying.... If your Tanya

you've not forgotten yet,

then know: the sharpness of your blame,

cold, stern discourse,

if it were only in my power

I'd have preferred to an offensive passion,

and to these letters and tears.

For my infantine dreams

you had at least some pity then,

at least consideration for my age.

But now!... What to my feet

has brought you? What a trifle!

How, with your heart and mind,

be the slave of a trivial feeling?

 

In the fall of 1824, when they meet again, Onegin is twenty-six and Tatiana (who was seventeen in the summer of 1820, at the time of their first meeting) is twenty-one. In November of 1928, by the time of his marriage, Luzhin (who presumably was born on October 19, 1902, the anniversary of Pushkin’s Lyceum) is twenty-six. Luzhin's bride is twenty-five (four years older than Pushkin's Tatiana):

 

Ей захотелось познакомиться с ним, поговорить по-русски,- столь привлекательным он ей показался своей неповоротливостью, сумрачностью, низким отложным воротником, который его делал почему-то похожим на музыканта,- и ей нравилось, что он на нее не смотрит, не ищет повода с ней заговорить, как это делали все неженатые мужчины в гостинице. Была она собой не очень хороша, чего-то недоставало ее мелким, правильным чертам. Как будто последний, решительный толчок, который бы сделал ее прекрасной, оставив те же черты, но придав им неизъяснимую значительность, не был сделан. Но ей было двадцать пять лет, по моде остриженные волосы лежали прелестно, и был у нее один поворот головы, в котором сказывался намек на возможную гармонию, обещание подлинной красоты, в последний миг не сдержанное. Она носила очень простые, очень хорошо сшитые платья, обнажала руки и шею, немного щеголяя их нежной свежестью. Она была богата,- ее отец, потеряв одно состояние в России, нажил другое в Германии. Ее мать должна была скоро приехать на этот курорт, и с тех пор, как возник Лужин, ожидание ее шумливого появления стало чем-то неприятно.

 

She wanted to make his acquaintance, talk Russian--so attractive did he seem to her with his uncouthness, his gloominess and his low turndown collar which for some reason made him look like a musician--and she was pleased that he did not take any notice of her and seek an excuse to talk to her, as did all the other single men in the hotel. She was not particularly pretty, there was something lacking in her small regular features, as if the last decisive jog that would have made her beautiful--leaving her features the same but endowing them with an ineffable significance--had not been given them by nature. But she was twenty-five, her fashionably bobbed hair was neat and lovely and she had one turn of the head which betrayed a hint of possible harmony, a promise of real beauty that at the last moment remained unfulfilled. She wore extremely simple and extremely well-cut dresses that left her arms and neck bare, as if she were flaunting a little their tender freshness. She was rich--her father had lost a fortune in Russia and made another in Germany. Her mother was due soon at the resort and since the advent of Luzhin the thought of her fussy arrival had become unpleasant. (Chapter 6)

 

Nevertheless, one is tempted to assume that the name (never mentioned in the novel) of Luzhin’s wife is Tatiana. In VN’s earlier story Sluchaynost’ (“A Matter of Chance,” 1924) the name of Aleksey Lvovich Luzhin’s wife is Elena:

 

Он служил лакеем в столовой германского экспресса. Звали его так: Алексей Львович Лужин.

Ушел он из России пять лет тому назад и с тех пор, перебираясь из города в город, перепробовал немало работ и ремесел: был батраком в Турции, комиссионером в Вене, маляром, приказчиком и еще чем-то. Теперь по обеим сторонам длинного вагона лились, лились поля, холмы, поросшие вереском, сосновые перелески,-- и бульон, в толстых чашках на подносе, который он гибко проносил по узкому проходу между боковых столиков, дымился и поплескивал. Подавал он с мастерской торопливостью, ловко подхватывал и раскидывал по тарелкам ломти говядины,-- и при этом быстро наклонялась его стриженая голова, напряженный лоб, черные, густые брови, подобные перевернутым усам.

В пять часов дня вагон приходил в Берлин, в семь катил обратно по направлению к французской границе. Лужин жил, как на железных качелях: думать и вспоминать успевал только ночью, в узком закуте, где пахло рыбой и нечистыми носками. Вспоминал он чаще всего кабинет в петербургском доме -- кожаные пуговицы на сгибах мягкой мебели,-- и жену свою, Лену, о которой пять лет ничего не знал. Сам он чувствовал, как с каждым днем все скудеет жизнь. От кокаина, от слишком частых понюшек опустошалась душа,-- и в ноздрях, на внутреннем хряще, появлялись тонкие язвы.

 

HE HAD A JOB as a waiter in the international dining car of a German fast train. His name was Aleksey Lvovich Luzhin. He had left Russia five years before, in 1919, and since then, as he made his way from city to city, had tried a good number of trades and occupations: he had worked as a farm laborer in Turkey, a messenger in Vienna, a housepainter, a sales clerk, and so forth. Now, on either side of the diner, the meadows, the hills overgrown with heather, the pine groves flowed on and on, and the bouillon steamed and splashed in the thick cups on the tray that he nimbly carried along the narrow aisle between the window tables. He waited with masterful dispatch, forking up from the dish he carried slices of beef or ham, depositing them on the plates, and in the process rapidly dipping his close-cropped head, with its tensed forehead and black, bushy eyebrows.
The car would arrive in Berlin at five p.m., and at seven it would depart in the opposite direction, toward the French border. Luzhin lived on a kind of steel seesaw: he had time to think and reminisce only at night, in a narrow nook that smelled of fish and dirty socks. His most frequent recollections were of a house in St. Petersburg, of his study there, with those leather buttons on the curves of overstuffed furniture, and of his wife Lena, of whom he had had no news for five years. At present, he felt his life wasting away. Too-frequent sniffs of cocaine had ravaged his mind; the little sores on the inside of his nostrils were eating into the septum.

 

In a discarded stanza (Five: XXXVII: 13-14) of EO Pushkin says that his Tanya is more endearing than Homer’s nasty Helen (with whom Aleksey Luzhin's wife Lena has nothing in common):

 

В пирах готов я непослушно

С твоим бороться божеством;

Но признаюсь великодушно,

Ты победил меня в другом:

Твои свирепые герои,

Твои неправильные бои,

Твоя Киприда, твои Зевес,

Большой имеют перевес

Перед Онегиным Холодным;

Пред сонной скукою полей,

Перед Истоминой моей;

Пред нашим воспитаньем модным,

Но Таня (присягну) милей

Елены пакостной твоей.

 

In feasts I'm ready disobediently

with your divinity to grapple;

but magnanimously I do concede

that elsewhere you have vanquished me:

your savage heroes,

your irregular battles,

your Cypris, your Zeus,

have a great prevalence

over chilly Onegin;

over the drowsy dreariness of fields;

over my I[stomina];

o'er our fashionable education.

But Tanya, 'pon my word, is more endearing

than your nasty Helen.

 

In Nadgrobie (“The Gravestone,” 1768), Lomonosov’s epitaph composed by Sumarokov (who makes fun of Lomonosov’s epic poem “Peter the Great,” 1756), Sumarokov calls Lomonosov Firs Firsovich Gomer (Thersytes Thersytovich Homer):

 

«Под камнем сим лежит Фирс Фирсович Гомер,
Который, вознесясь ученьем выше мер,
Великого воспеть монарха устремился,
Отважился, дерзнул, запел и осрамился:
Дела он обещал воспеть велика мужа;
Он к морю вел чтеца, а вылилася лужа».

 

"He [Lomonosov] led the reader to the sea, but it turned out to be a puddle." In his reply to Sumarokov, Vyveska (“The Signboard,” 1768), Derzhavin wittily compares Lomonosov to a sea and Sumarokov, to luzha (a puddle):

 

Терентий здесь живёт Облаевич Цербер,
Который обругал подъячих выше мер,
Кощунствовать своим Опекуном стремился,
Отважился, дерзнул, зевнул и подавился:
Хулил он наконец дела почтенна мужа,
Чтоб сей из моря стал ему подобна лужа.

 

In Chapter Four of EO Pushkin describes a game of chess played by Lenski and Olga Larin (Tatiana’s younger sister):

 

Он иногда читает Оле
Нравоучительный роман,
В котором автор знает боле
Природу, чем Шатобриан,
А между тем две, три страницы
(Пустые бредни, небылицы,
Опасные для сердца дев)
Он пропускает, покраснев.
Уединясь от всех далеко,
Они над шахматной доской,
На стол облокотясь, порой
Сидят, задумавшись глубоко,
И Ленской пешкою ладью
Берет в рассеяньи свою.

 

Sometimes he reads to Olya

a moralistic novel —

in which the author

knows nature better than Chateaubriand —

and, meanwhile, two-three pages

(empty chimeras, fables,

for hearts of maidens dangerous)

he blushingly leaves out.

Retiring far from everybody,

over the chessboard they,

leaning their elbows on the table,

at times sit deep in thought,

and Lenski in abstraction takes

with a pawn his own rook.

 

The surname Peshkov comes from peshka (a pawn). Lenski’s own rook brings to mind Turati (Luzhin’s opponent whose name comes from tura, an obsolete name of rook).

 

The characters in VN's novel Ada (1969) include Tatiana, a remarkably pretty and proud young nurse in the Kalugano hospital (where Van recovers from a wound received in a pistol duel with Captain Tapper):

 

For half a minute Van was sure that he still lay in the car, whereas actually he was in the general ward of Lakeview (Lakeview!) Hospital, between two series of variously bandaged, snoring, raving and moaning men. When he understood this, his first reaction was to demand indignantly that he be transferred to the best private palata in the place and that his suitcase and alpenstock be fetched from the Majestic. His next request was that he be told how seriously he was hurt and how long he was expected to remain incapacitated. His third action was to resume what constituted the sole reason of his having to visit Kalugano (visit Kalugano!). His new quarters, where heartbroken kings had tossed in transit, proved to be a replica in white of his hotel apartment — white furniture, white carpet, white sparver. Inset, so to speak, was Tatiana, a remarkably pretty and proud young nurse, with black hair and diaphanous skin (some of her attitudes and gestures, and that harmony between neck and eyes which is the special, scarcely yet investigated secret of feminine grace fantastically and agonizingly reminded him of Ada, and he sought escape from that image in a powerful response to the charms of Tatiana, a torturing angel in her own right. Enforced immobility forbade the chase and grab of common cartoons. He begged her to massage his legs but she tested him with one glance of her grave, dark eyes — and delegated the task to Dorofey, a beefy-handed male nurse, strong enough to lift him bodily out of bed. with the sick child clasping the massive nape. When Van managed once to twiddle her breasts, she warned him she would complain if he ever repeated what she dubbed more aptly than she thought ‘that soft dangle.’ An exhibition of his state with a humble appeal for a healing caress resulted in her drily remarking that distinguished gentlemen in public parks got quite lengthy prison terms for that sort of thing. However, much later, she wrote him a charming and melancholy letter in red ink on pink paper; but other emotions and events had intervened, and he never met her again). His suitcase promptly arrived from the hotel; the stick, however, could not be located (it must be climbing nowadays Wellington Mountain, or perhaps, helping a lady to go ‘brambling’ in Oregon); so the hospital supplied him with the Third Cane, a rather nice, knotty, cherry-dark thing with a crook and a solid black-rubber heel. Dr Fitzbishop congratulated him on having escaped with a superficial muscle wound, the bullet having lightly grooved or, if he might say so, grazed the greater serratus. Doc Fitz commented on Van’s wonderful recuperational power which was already in evidence, and promised to have him out of disinfectants and bandages in ten days or so if for the first three he remained as motionless as a felled tree-trunk. 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)

 

Darkbloom (‘Notes to Ada’): palata: Russ., ward.

 

The surname Luzhin also hints at Luga (in Kalugano there is Luga). Kaluzhnitsa bolotnaya (marsh marigold, a plant mentioned by Ada: 1.10) brings to mind Luzhin. Ward Five (where hopeless cases are kept) makes one think of Chekhov's story Palata No. 6 ("Ward Six," 1892). The characters in Chekhov's story Chyornyi monakh ("The Black Monk," 1894) include Tatiana, mad Kovrin's wife. In Chapter Five (VI: 9) of EO Pushkin mentions a black monk:

 

Она дрожала и бледнела.
Когда ж падучая звезда
По небу темному летела
И рассыпалася, — тогда
В смятенье Таня торопилась,
Пока звезда еще катилась,
Желанье сердца ей шепнуть.
Когда случалось где-нибудь
Ей встретить черного монаха
Иль быстрый заяц меж полей
Перебегал дорогу ей,
Не зная, что начать со страха,
Предчувствий горестных полна,
Ждала несчастья уж она.

 

she trembled and grew pale.

Or when a falling star

along the dark sky flew

and dissipated, then

in agitation Tanya hastened

to whisper, while the star still rolled,

her heart's desire to it.

When anywhere she happened

a black monk to encounter,

or a swift hare amid the fields

would run across her path,

so scared she knew not what to undertake,

full of grievous forebodings,

already she expected some mishap.

 

In VN's novel Dar ("The Gift," 1937) Tanya is the name of Fyodor's elder sister. At the end of the novel we learn from Fyodor's letter to his mother that Tanya just gave birth to a child. In The Luzhin Defense the father of Luzhin's wife quips "the devil is not as black as are his babies." In VN's story Krug ("The Circle," 1936) Innokentiy meets Tanya (Fyodor's sister) and her daughter in Paris.