Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024928, Tue, 24 Dec 2013 19:23:59 +0300

Marx pere & L disaster in Ada
Van to Lucette: 'Of course, I remember now. A foul taint in the singular can be a sacred mark in the plural. You are referring of course to the stigmata between the eyebrows of pure sickly young nuns whom priests had over-anointed there and elsewhere with cross-like strokes of the myrrherabol brush.' (2.5)

Krovotochashchie stigmaty (the bleeding stigmata) is the closing line of Voloshin's poem Russkaya Revolyutsiya ("The Russian Revolution") from his book Rossiya Raspyataya ("Russia Crucified," 1920):

С Россией произошло то же, что происходило с католическими святыми, которые переживали крестные муки Христа с такою полнотой веры, что сами удостаивались получить знаки распятия на руках и на ногах. Россия в лице своей революционной интеллигенции с такой полнотой религиозного чувства созерцала социальные язвы и будущую революцию Европы, что сама, не будучи распята, приняла своею плотью стигмы социальной революции. Русская революция — это исключительно нервно-религиозное заболевание.

Русская революция

Во имя грозного закона
Братоубийственной войны,
И воспалённы, и красны
Пылают гневные знамена.
Но жизнь и русская судьба
Смешала клички, стёрла грани:
Наш «пролетарий» — голытьба,
А наши «буржуа» — мещане.
А грозный демон — Капитал —
Властитель фабрик, Князь заботы,
Сущность отстоенной работы,
Преображённая в кристалл, —
Был нам неведом: нерадивы
И нищи средь богатств земли,
Мы чрез столетья пронесли,
Сохою ковыряя нивы,
К земле нежадную любовь…
России душу омрачая,
Враждуют призраки, но кровь
Из ран её течёт живая.
Не нам ли суждено изжить
Последние судьбы Европы,
Чтобы собой предотвратить
Ее погибельные тропы.
Пусть бунт наш — бред, пусть дом наш — пуст,
Пусть боль от наших ран — не наша,
Но да не минет эта чаша
Чужих страданий наших уст.
И если встали между нами
Все гневы будущих времен —
Мы всё же грезим русский сон
Под чуждыми нам именами.
Тончайшей изо всех зараз, —
Мечтой врачует мир Россия —
Ты, погибавшая не раз
И воскресавшая стихия!
Как некогда святой Франциск
Видал: разверзся солнца диск,
И пясти рук и ног — Распятый
Ему лучом пронзил трикраты —
Так ты в молитвах приняла
Чужих страстей, чужого зла
Кровоточащие стигматы.

According to Voloshin, the Russian Revolution is exclusively a nervous-and-religious disease. A professional terrapist (terrology being a branch of psychiatry), Van says of Aqua's delusion (caused by the mysterious L disaster):

Aqua was not quite twenty when the exaltation of her nature had begun to reveal a morbid trend. Chronologically, the initial stage of her mental illness coincided with the first decade of the Great Revelation, and although she might have found just as easily another theme for her delusion, statistics shows that the Great, and to some Intolerable, Revelation caused more insanity in the world than even an over-preoccupation with religion had in medieval times.
Revelation can be more perilous than Revolution. Sick minds identified the notion of a Terra planet with that of another world and this 'Other World' got confused not only with the 'Next World' but with the Real World in us and beyond us. Our enchanters, our demons, are noble iridescent creatures with translucent talons and mightily beating wings; but in the eighteen-sixties the New Believers urged one to imagine a sphere where our splendid friends had been utterly degraded, had become nothing but vicious monsters, disgusting devils, with the black scrota of carnivora and the fangs of serpents, revilers and tormentors of female souls; while on the opposite side of the cosmic lane a rainbow mist of angelic spirits, inhabitants of sweet Terra, restored all the stalest but still potent myths of old creeds, with rearrangement for melodeon of all the cacophonies of all the divinities and divines ever spawned in the marshes of this our sufficient world. (1.3)

In his poem Voloshin says that in Russia we did not know that "formidable demon, the Capital." Baron Demon Veen (poor mad Aqua's husband, Van's and Ada's father) is "a Manhattan banker of ancient Anglo-Irish ancestry" (1.1). Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Okonomie (1867) is the main opus of Karl Marx (1818-83). On Antiterra Marx pere is the popular author of 'historical' plays:

Van Veen [as also, in his small way, the editor of Ada] liked to change his abode at the end of a section or chapter or even paragraph, and he had almost finished a difficult bit dealing with the divorce between time and the contents of time (such as action on matter, in space, and the nature of space itself) and was contemplating moving to Manhattan (that kind of switch being a reflection of mental rubrication rather than a concession to some farcical ‘influence of environment' endorsed by Marx pere, the popular author of ‘historical' plays), when he received an unexpected dorophone call which for a moment affected violently his entire pulmonary and systemic circulation. (2.5)

According to V. V. Mayakovski (VN's "late namesake" who in Vladimir Il'yich Lenin also speaks of capital), Karl Marx is Lenin's elder brother:

Время часы капитала крало.
Побивая прожекторов яркость,
время родило брата Карла, -
старший Ленинский брат Маркс.
Time was stealing the hours of capital.
Beating the search-lights's brightness,
Time gave birth to brother Karl, -
Marx is Lenin's elder brother.

Van Veen is the author of Texture of Time (Part Four).

In Chetvert' veka ("The Quarter of the Century. 1900-1925") Voloshin says that he saw, among other things, the glory of the "Kakangel" of Marx:

Видел позорное самоубийство
Трона, династии, срам алтарей,
Славу "Какангелия" от Маркса,
Новой враждой разделившего мир.
I saw the infamous suicide
of throne, dynasty, the shame of altars,
the glory of the Kakangel of Marx
that had divided the world with new enmity.

According to Van, Demon is a form of Demian or Dementius (1.1). Demian Bednyi (penname of Efim Pridvorov, 1883-1945) is the author of Novyi zavet bez iz'yana evangelista Demiana ("The New Testament without Omission of the Evangelist Demian," 1925). Bednye Lyudi ("Poor Folk," 1846) is Dostoevski's first novel. In the old Russian alphabet letter L was called lyudi. The Antiterran L disaster in the beau milieu of the 19th century seems to correspond to the mock execution of Dostoevski and the Petrashevskians on January 3, 1850 (New Style). Demian Bednyi's parody of Sirin's poem Bilet ("The Ticket," 1927) was published in Pravda. It was the first mention of VN in the Soviet press.

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/