Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024466, Mon, 12 Aug 2013 16:44:18 +0300

Meksikansk in Ada
From Manhattan, via Mephisto, El Paso, Meksikansk and the Panama Chunnel, the dark-red New World Express reached Brazilia and Witch (or Viedma, founded by a Russian admiral). (2.2)

Meksikansk (apparently, the Antiterran name of Mexico city) hints at meksikanskiy tushkan ("Mexican jerboa"), Ellochka the Cannibal's "chic" fur in Ilf and Petrov's The Twelve Chairs (chapter XXII, "Ellochka the Cannibal"). See also my posts on Ada's and Marina's furs, as well as on Cordula's ("Mme Perwitsky's") polecat.

Mexico city is where Trotsky was assassinated. Stalin had "long arms" (as we say of a person who has so much power, influence etc. that it is impossible to hide from or escape him) indeed. In The Twelve Chairs (chapter XIV, "The Union of Sword and Plough") Ostap Bender warns the members of the "anti-Soviet" union in Stargorod: u nas dlinnye ruki ("we have long arms").

In Ilf and Petrov's The Goden Calf (chapter XVI, "Jahrbuch fuer Psychoanalytik") the absence of the Bering Strait ("the ha-ha of a doubled ocean", as Van calls it in Ada, 1.3) on a map of two hemispheres drives mad the poor geographer:

Географ сошёл с ума совершенно неожиданно: однажды он взглянул на карту обоих полушарий и не нашёл на ней Берингова пролива. Весь день старый учитель шарил по карте. Всё было на месте: и Ньюфаундленд, и Суэцкий канал, и Мадагаскар, и Сандвичевы острова с главным городом Гонолулу, и даже вулкан Попокатепетль, а Берингов пролив отсутствовал. (Everything was there [on the map], even the volcano Popocatapetl, but no Bering Strait.)

As Mascodagama Van dances tango on his hands, while his partner Rita sings a tango tune:

Pod znoynym nebom Argentiny,
Pod strastnyi govor mandoliny

'Neath the sultry sky of Argentina,
To the hot hum of mandolina.

In The Golden Calf (chapter XX, "The Commodore is Dancing a Tango") Ostap Bender dances solo the same tango.

The Columbus Theatre visited by Bender and Vorob'yaninov in "The 12 Chairs" (chapter XXX, "In the Columbus Theatre") reminds one of the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.

Finaly, Rio de Janeiro is the city of Bender's dreams (in "The Golden Calf").

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/