Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024409, Mon, 15 Jul 2013 02:22:35 +0300

signing for receiving a slap in the face
"Nu, dali v mordu. Nu, tak chtozh?" he muttered (Well, you've given me one in the mug. Well, what does it matter?). Blood blotched the handkerchief he applied to his fat muzhikian nose.
"Nu, dali," he repeated and presently wandered away. (LATH, 5.3)

Oleg Orlov's words remind one of the closing lines of Pushkin's epigram Kak satiroy bezymyannoy / lik Zoila ya pyatnal... ("As I smirched Zoilus's face with an anonymous satire..." 1829):

В полученьи оплеухи
Расписался мой дурак?

Did my fool sign
for receiving a slap in the face?

Vadim Vadimovich calls the critic Demian Basilevski "my faithful Zoilus". (3.1) The name of VN's Zoilus was Georgiy Adamovich (whose personality is split in LATH between Basilevski and Adam Atropovich). In The Gift Adamovich is satirized as Christopher Mortus. Another joke was played on Adamovich when VN published a poem signed with a new pen name, Vasiliy Shishkov, and then wrote a story disclosing that Shishkov (whom Adamovich had called "a great poet") was his invention. When Adamovich realized that he had been fooled, he explained that VN "was a sufficiently skillful parodist to mimic genius". VN's LATH is a self-parody from beginning to end.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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