Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024962, Fri, 3 Jan 2014 15:26:36 +0300

Morozov & Boyarski in LATH
Would I despise her [Lyuba Savich] for having an album with reviews of my books pasted in--Morozov's and Yablokov's lovely essays as well as the trash of such hacks as Boris Nyet, and Boyarski? (2.2)

As I pointed out before, the names Morozov and Boyarski hint at Boyarynya Morozov (1632-75, one of the best-known partisans of the Old Believer movement). Her confessor was Archpriest Avvakum (Avvakum Petrov, 1621-82, the author of Zhitie Protopopa Avvakuma, "The Life of Archpriest Avvakum," 1672). In his long poem Protopop Avvakum (1918) Maximilian Voloshin mentions Boyarynya Morozov and her sister, Princess Urusov, who were incarcerated in an underground cellar at Borovsk (where Feodosia Morozov succumbed to starvation):

Боярыню Морозову с сестрой -
Княгиней Урусовой - детей моих духовных
Разорили и в Боровске в темницу закопали.
Ту с мужем развели, у этой сына уморили.

Voloshin had completed The Archpriest Avvakum on May 19, 1918, a couple of months before VN met him Yalta, so he could have read one of his last poems to VN. In the Introduction to Drugie berega ("Other Shores," 1954), the Russian version of his autobiography, VN mentions Avvakum (one of the first Russian memoirists):

Переходя на другой язык, я отказывался таким образом не от языка Аввакума, Пушкина, Толстого--или Иванова, няни, русской публицистики-- словом, не от общего языка, а от индивидуального, кровного наречия. (Switching to another language, I thus rejected not the language of Avvakum, Pushkin, Tolstoy - or that of Ivanov, nurse, Russian journalism - in a word, not the common language, but the individual, intimate idiom.)

The name Boris Nyet (in Russian spelling Nyet is ten', "shadow, shade," backwards) seems to hint at Grigory's words to Marina in Pushkin's Boris Godunov (1825):

Ten' Groznogo menya usynovila,
Dimitriem iz groba narekla...
The shade of Ivan the Terrible adopted me,
from the grave named me Dimitry...

The name Yablokov comes from yabloko (apple). "The apple does not fall far from the apple-tree (yablonya)." It seems to me that Vadim's real name is Yablonski. Vadim changes only its initial, when he wants us to suppose that his real name is Oblonski:

Let us suppose my real name to have been "Oblonsky" (a Tolstoyan invention); then the false one would be, for example, the mimetic "O. B. Long," an oblong blursky, so to speak. (5.1)

In Tolstoy's novel Oblonski is Anna Karenin's maiden name.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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