Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023490, Sat, 1 Dec 2012 14:49:40 +0300

L'ami Luc
Greg Erminin: 'And how is the guvernantka belletristka?'
Van Veen: 'Her last novel is called L'ami Luc. She just got the Lebon Academy Prize for her copious rubbish.' (Ada, 3.2)

The title of Mlle Lariviere's novel seems to blend Maupassant's Bel ami (1885) with L'ami Fritz (1864) by Erckmann-Chatrian.* The latter novel is mentioned by M. S. Sukhotin (Tolstoy's son-in-law) in his diary (the entry of Nov. 12, 1901): Сидит он в кресле в халате, очень нарядном, подаренном Таней, шёлковая скуфья на голове, очень напоминает грим какого-то актёра в роли еврея, не то из "Уриэль Акосты", не то из "Ami Fritz".** (He [Tolstoy] is sitting in an arm-chair in his very smart dressing-gown given him by Tanya and a silk calotte on his head reminiscent of the make-up of some actor in the part of a Jew in Uriel Acosta*** or L'ami Fritz.) Greg Erminin is a Jew and Mlle Lariviere, an anti-Semite.

Incidentally, Tolstoy is the author of Fransuaza (a free translation of Maupassant's story Le Port, 1889, about the brother-and-sister incest)**** and of the preface to Maupassant's Works in Russian.

In Maupassant's story Two Soldiers, Luc is the name of the soldier who drowns himself.

Lebon = Nobel, Luc = cul (Fr., arse, buttocks)

*der gemeinsame Kunstlername der Autoren Emile Erckmann (1822-99) und Alexandre Chatrian (1826-90)
**Iz dnevnika M. S. Sukhotina (1910, 1961)
***a tragedy in blank verse (1847) by K. F. Gutzkow
****Tolstoy added one sentence: "ona sestra tvoya" (she is your sister). In a letter to Suvorin Chekhov remarked that this addition did not spoil the story.

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/