Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024404, Sat, 13 Jul 2013 14:46:08 +0300

Vadim's paralysis in LATH
Tak, vdol' naklonnogo luchа
Ya vyshel iz paralichа.

Along a slanting ray, like this
I slipped out of paralysis. (LATH, 7.3)

In Pushkin's Dubrovski (1833) paralysis hits Andrey Gavrilovich Dubrovski (the father of Vladimir) the moment he sees in the window his neighbor and rival (former friend) Kirila Petrovich Troekurov:

Больной указывал пальцем на двор с видом ужаса и гнева. Он торопливо подбирал полы своего халата, собираясь встать с кресел, приподнялся - и вдруг упал. - Сын бросился к нему, старик лежал без чувств и без дыхания - паралич его ударил. (Chapter Four)

When he feels an unusual agitation of thoughts, Kirila Petrovich whistles the tune of Grom pobedy razdavaysya! ("Thunder of Victory, Ring out!" 1791), the hymn composed by Derzhavin and set to music by Kozlovski after Suvorov took Izmail, the impregnable Turkish fortress in the Danube's estuary:

А Кирила Петрович, оставшись наедине, стал расхаживать взад и вперёд, насвистывая: Гром победы раздавайся, что всегда означало в нём необыкновенное волнение мыслей. (ibid.)

Luch sveta v tyomnom tsarstve ("A Ray of Light in the Dark Kingdom") is Dobrolyubov's famous article on Ostrovski's play Groza ("The Thunderstorm", 1859). Dobrolyubov is a character in VN's Dar (The Gift). Annette Blagovo (Vadim's typist who types for him the text of his novel The Dare) spoonerizes his name as Dobroshevski: The only real shock I experienced was when I overheard her informing some idiot woman friend that my Dare included biographies of "Chernolyubov and Dobroshevski"! She actually started to argue when I retorted that only a lunatic would have chosen a pair of third-rate publicists to write about--spoonerizing their names in addition! ( 2.5)

Ostrovski comes from ostrov ("island"). LATH ends in the sentence: I had been promised some rum with my tea--Ceylon and Jamaica, the sibling islands (mumbling comfortably, dropping off, mumble dying away)--" (7.4)

Note also a Formosan copy of Vadim's novel A Kingdom by the Sea that he finds in the Orly airport: With a hovering grin, I noticed and picked up a paperback somebody had left on a seat next to mine in the transit lounge of the Orly airport. I was the mouse of fate on that pleasant June afternoon between a shop of wines and a shop of perfumes.
I held in my hands a copy of a Formosan (!) paperback reproduced from the American edition of A Kingdom by the Sea. (5.3)

Formosa is the Portuguese name of Taiwan, a Chinese island separated from the SE coast of China by Taiwan Strait.

Ryumka roma, poutru chai (a wine-glass of rum, [a cup of] tea in the morning) are mentioned by Pushkin in the last stanza of Dorozhnye zhaloby ("Road Complaints", 1830):

То ли дело рюмка рома,
Ночью сон, поутру чай;
То ли дело, братцы, дома!..
Ну, пошёл же, погоняй!..

The middle part of Vadim's novel The Dare is a concise biography and critical appraisal of Fyodor Dostoevski, whose politics my author finds hateful and whose novels he condemns as absurd with their black-bearded killers presented as mere negatives of Jesus Christ's conventional image, and weepy whores borrowed from maudlin romances of an earlier age. (2.5) Dostoevski's second wife, Anna Snitkin, worked for him as a stenographer. Vadim meets his second wife, Annette Blagovo, when she comes to work for him as a typist. The characters of Dostoevski's Brothers Karamazov (1880) include the paralyzed girl Liza Khokhlakov (who is later cured by an expensive doctor).

Alexey Sklyarenko

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu
Visit Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
View Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com

Manage subscription options: http://listserv.ucsb.edu/