Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024846, Fri, 29 Nov 2013 01:22:29 +0300

shaving in Ada and elsewhere
Van envies Percy de Prey who has the smooth-skinned jaws of the easy shaver:

I think what I hated most about your handsome moon face was that baby complexion, the smooth-skinned jaws of the easy shaver. I had begun to bleed every time, and was going to do so for seven decades. (1.39)

In his book on Gogol VN describes Chichikov's traveling chest and points out parenthetically that "Chichikov's chubby cheeks were always silky-smooth: a fake cherub."

It is the barber Ivan Yakovlevich who in Gogol's famous anecdote cut off the nose of Major Kovalyov.

In Ilf and Petrov's The Twelve Chairs (Chapter VII "The Traces of Titanic") Bender shaves Vorob'yaninov. In the novel's last chapter (XL "The Treasure") Vorob'yaninov murders Bender, while he is asleep, with a razor.

I am also reminded of the famous closing lines of Arseniy Tarkovski's poem Pervye svidaniya (First Trysts, 1962):

Когда судьба по следу шла за нами,
Как сумасшедший с бритвою в руке.
When fate followed us in our footsteps,
like a madman with the razor in his hand.

P. S. The first imperfect version of my previous post "contraceptive devices in Ada & in Dead Souls" should be deleted from your computers! My humble request not to send it out and wait for the revised version was ignored by our esteemed Editor.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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