Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024454, Thu, 8 Aug 2013 01:30:21 +0300

Marevo in LATH
Vadim's favorite manor where he first looked at the harlequins is Marevo:

When the book made its belated appearance, as I gently aged, I might enjoy entertaining a few dear sycophantic friends in the arbor of my favorite manor of Marevo (where I had first "looked at the harlequins") with its alley of fountains and its shimmering view of a virgin bit of Volgan steppe-land. (1.5)

Marevo (mirage) is mentioned by Hodasevich in his essay Peterburgskie povesti Pushkina ("Pushkin's St. Petersburg Tales"):

Тою же осенью 1830 года, там же, в Болдине, почти одновременно с "Домиком в Коломне" написаны "Каменный Гость" и "Гробовщик". Прямая связь между последними двумя произведениями зорко замечена была ещё А.С. Искозом в его статье о "Повестях Белкина", хотя и была истолкована несколько иначе. В самом деле: вызов пьяного и глупого гробовщика совершенно тождествен с вызовом Дон Жуана: и тот и другой в порыве дерзости зовут мертвецов к себе на ужин. Мертвецы приходят. Но сознательно дерзкий Жуан погибает: ожившая статуя губит его, как погубил оживший Всадник Евгения. А дерзнувший спьяна, по глупости гробовщик принимает у себя целую толпу мёртвых, но потом просыпается -- и всё оказывается вздором, маревом, сном, и он мирно садится пить чай.
(Hodasevich compares the hero of Pushkin's story Grobovshchik, "The Coffin-Maker", to Don Juan [Guan], the hero of Kamennyi gost', "The Stone Guest".* Both Adrian Prokhorov and Don Juan recklessly invite the dead to supper. But while Don Juan perishes, killed by the live statue, the stupid coffin-maker - who was drunk when he invited his clients - is visited by a whole crowd of the dead; but then he wakes up and everything turns out to be nonsense, a mirage [marevo], a dream and he quietly sits down to drink his tea.)

Like Pushkin's Grobovshchik, LATH ends in tea drinking:

"I had been promised some rum with my tea--Ceylon and Jamaica, the sibling islands (mumbling comfortably, dropping off, mumble dying away)--" (7.4)

*both the story and the little tragedy were written in Boldino, in the fall of 1830, almost simultaneously with "The Small Cottage in Kolomna"

Alexey Sklyarenko

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