Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024413, Tue, 16 Jul 2013 08:47:09 -0300

Re: Time & Crimea in Ada
AS:At the beginning of Texture of Time (Part Four of Ada) Van says that his consciousness was awakened by an earthquake:...In Ilf and Petrov's "The Twelve Chairs" Bender and Vorob'yaninov nearly die in the disastrous Crimean earthquake of 1927: "It was fourteen minutes past midnight. This was the first shock of the great Crimean earthquake of 1927.A severe earthquake, wreaking untold disaster throughout the peninsula, had plucked the treasure from the hands of the concessionaires." (Chapter 39, "The Earthquake") A moment before the earthquake's first shock Bender says of the eleventh chair: ""There it is! There is our past, present and future. Light a match, Pussy, and I'll open it up."

Jansy Mello: returning to old postings (2012),as a kinda exercise, to add another set of quakes to Sklyarenko's reference to "The Twelve Chairs" Crimean disaster, the dropping plaster and Van, and Nabokov's early childhood in the Riviera. :

ADA: "My first recollection goes back to mid-July, 1870, i.e., my seventh month of life (with most people, of course, retentive consciousness starts somewhat later, at three or four years of age) when, one morning, in our Riviera villa, a chunk of green plaster ornament, dislodged from the ceiling by an earthquake, crashed into my cradle. The 195 days preceding that event being indistinguishable from infinite unconsciousness, are not to be included in perceptual time, so that, insofar as my mind and my pride of mind are concerned, I am today (mid-July, 1922) quite exactly fifty-two, et treve de mon style plafond peint."

Jansy Mello: In February 27, 2012, there was an earthquake in the Riviera ...Ths year's report: AN earthquake in the Alpes de Haute-Provence was felt on the Cote d'Azur with pompiers receiving many calls from residents asking what was happening. Measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale, the quake caused no damage when it struck at 23.37 last night. It lasted for about five seconds and residents reported being shaken from side to side. The Bureau Central de Sismologie Francais said it was followed an hour later by an aftershock measuring 3.7. The epicentre was about 12km north-east of the town of Barcelonnette.
A disastrous one happened in February 23, 1887.and was reported by Sir Richard Burton: "A little before 6 a.m., on the finest of mornings, with the smoothest of seas, the still sleeping world was aroused by a rumbling and shaking as of a thousand express trains hissing and rolling along, and in a few minutes followed a shock, making the hotel reel and wave. The duration was about one minute. My wife said to me, 'Why, what sort of express train have they got on to-day?' It broke on to us, upheaving and making the earth undulate, and as it came I said, 'By Jove! that is a good earthquake.' She called out, 'All the people are rushing out into the garden undressed; shall we go too?' I said, 'No, my girl; you and I have been in too many earthquakes to show the white feather at our age.' 'All right,' she answered; and I turned round and went to sleep again." [Page 688] From The Romance of Isabel Lady Burton, Vol II.(The Riviera Earthquake: "the French Riviera and adjacent Italian Coast were struck by an earthquake which claimed more than 2,000 lives and created panic amongst most of the wealthy holiday-makers in Cannes and Nice.")
Van was born in Anti-Terra, so there's a time difference between his experience and Sir Richard Burton's (should the crumbled "plafond peint" indicate the one Sir R.Burton reported.) However, the seismic problem that facilitated Van Veen's precocious "Second Birthday" may have been something else. Would it refer to any autobiographical experience in a cradle?.

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