Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024501, Mon, 19 Aug 2013 13:37:10 +0300

weather in LATH
Nikifor Starov (Vadim's benefactor who can be his real father) is a namesake of Nikifor, blagorodneyshiy starik (a fine old man), in Ignat Lebyadkin's fable Tarakan (The Cockroach). Accordig to Lebyadkin, a character in Dostoevski's Besy (1872), Nikifor izobrazhaet prirodu (represents nature) and Russia is only a play of nature (Rossiya est' igra prirody, ne bolee). (The Possessed, Part One, Chapter Five "The Wise Serpent")

Dostoevski's Pushkinskaya rech' (the speech at the unveiling of the Pushkin monument in Moscow, in June, 1880) was a great success with the audience.

In Leningrad Vadim meets Dora (a friend of Vadim's daughter Bel) near the monument of Pushkin:

Dora was to meet me Friday morning on the Square of the Arts in front of the Russian Museum near the statue of Pushkin erected some ten years before by a committee of weathermen. (5.2)

At the beginning of Canto Five of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, pogoda (weather) rhymes with priroda (nature):

В тот год осенняя погода
Стояла долго на дворе,
Зимы ждала, ждала природа.
Снег выпал только в январе
На третье в ночь.

That year autumnal weather
was a long time abroad;
nature kept waiting and waiting for winter.
Snow fell only in January,
on the night of the second. (I: 1-5)

Btw., "Captain" Lebyadkin (who did not participate in the Crimean War of 1853-56 and who has both arms intact) imagines that he lost his arm in Sebastopol. Lieutenant Starov (Nadezhda Starov's husband who murders Vadim's first wife Iris Black) served under General Wrangel in the Crimea. A head wound received in the civil war had left him with a terrifying tic that caused his face to change suddenly, at variable intervals, as if a paper bag were being crumpled by an invisible hand. (1.11)

Alexey Sklyarenko

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