Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024446, Thu, 1 Aug 2013 16:05:26 +0300

Rembrandt in LATH
After a period of loafing through unremembered German and Dutch towns, I crossed over to England. The Rembrandt, a little hotel in London, was my next address. The two or three small diamonds that I kept in a chamois pouch melted away faster than hailstones. (1.2)

Rembrandtova pravda v poezii nashikh dney ("The Rembrandtian Truth in the Poetry of our Days", 1922) is the title of Andrey Bely's article on Hodasevich.

At the end of his essay On Hodasevich (1939) VN compares the poet's human image to a melting hailstone: There is no consolation, if one starts to encourage the sense of loss by one's private recollections of a brief, brittle, human image that melts like a hailstone on a window sill.

Rembrandt's paintings are mentioned by Pushkin in Domik v Kolomne ("The Small House in Kolomna," 1830):

Старушка (я стократ видал точь-в-точь
В картинах Рембрандта такие лица)
Носила чепчик и очки.
The old woman (I saw a hundred times
in Rembrandt's paintings faces exactly like hers)
wore a cap and glasses. (XIII: 1-3)

In Pushkin's poem a widow and her pretty daughter hire a cook who turns out to be a young man dressed up as a woman.
Cf. in LATH: Two lewd young ladies rigged me up once in a lacy chemise and a Lorelei wig and laid me to sleep between them, "a shy little cousin," as in a ribald novella, while their husbands snored in the next room after the boar hunt. (1.2)

In Pushkin's Scene from Faust (1825) Mephistopheles says that Faust called him out from the fire, like an harlequin. Faust is a tragedy by J. W. Goethe. Goethe's memoirs are entitled Aus meinem Leben: Dichtung and Wahrheit ("From my Life: Poetry and Truth"). In 1913-16 Bely participated in the construction of Goetheanum in Switzerland.

vino + gradina = vinogradina (vino - wine; gradina - hailstone; vinogradina - grape, the edible berry or fruit that grows in clusters on vines of the genus Vitis)
In vino veritas!

Alexey Sklyarenko

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