Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024321, Sat, 8 Jun 2013 15:29:43 +0300

Speaking of Baron Klim Avidov & his politics (see my recent post), I forgot to mention that, in a letter of December 1, 1823, to Alexander Turgenev Pushkin calls Jesus Christ umerennyi demokrat (a moderate democrat):
...это мой последний либеральный бред ["this is my last liberal delirium"*], я закаялся и написал на днях подражание басне умеренного демократа Иисуса Христа [the other day I wrote an imitation of the fable by the moderate democrat Jesus Christ] (Изыде сеятель сеяти семена своя**):

Свободы сеятель пустынный...
[An anchoretic sower of freedom...]

In the same letter Pushkin informs Turgenev that he writes a new poem, "Eugene Onegin," and that two cantos are already finished: а я на досуге пишу новую поэму, «Евгений Онегин», где захлебываюсь желчью. Две песни уже готовы.

Karamzin's second wife Katerina Andreevna (who is also mentioned in Pushkin's letter to Turgenev) was Vyazemski's half-sister and a close friend of Pushkin. She was one the very few people who knew about the drama in the poet's family and the inevitable duel.

Sofia Kovalevski, the mathematician who mentions Strannolyubski in her Vospominaniya detstva (Childhood Reminiscences), is also the author of "Nihilist" (1890), an unfinished novelette about Chernyshevski ("Chernov" in the story) and his wife Olga Sokratovna ("Marusya" in the story). Btw., it was Sofia Kovalevski who suggested to Chernyshevski's son Sasha that he should study mathematics. Also, it seems that VN's lecture on Dostoevski (in his "Lectures on Russian Literature") was based (among other sources) on Sofia Kovalevski's interesting memoirs. Which reminds me of the L disaster in Ada and the fact that L is the Roman numeral for 50.

*"the ode on Napoleon's death," as Pushkin calls his poem Napoleon ("Chudesnyi zhrebiy sovershilsya..." 1821)
**A farmer went out to sow his seed. (Luke 8: 5)

Btw., this post has the answer to my "anser" riddle (Letit gus' etc.). Anyone?

Alexey Sklyarenko

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