Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023552, Wed, 2 Jan 2013 14:11:21 +0300

She [Marina] had ample time, too, to change for the next scene, which started with a longish intermezzo staged by a ballet company whose services Scotty had engaged, bringing the Russians all the way in two sleeping cars from Belokonsk, Western Estoty. (1.2)

Vivian Darkbloom, 'Notes to Ada:' Belokonsk: the Russian twin of 'Whitehorse' (city in N.W. Canada).

Just as Bras d'or (on Antiterra, Bras d'Or is an American province in the Northeast of our great and variegated country: 1.1) is a cognac, White Horse is a whiskey. In his last visit to Paris Mayakovski, sitting in La Coupole, composed the lines (quoted by Ilya Ehrenburg and Lilya Brik in their memoir essays):

Хорошая лошадь «уайт хорс».
Белая грива, белый хвост…
("White Horse" is a good horse.
The white mane, the white tail...)

According to Hodasevich, young lanky Mayakovski in his unbuttoned shirt resembled a circus horse. Hodasevich's article on VN's "late namesake" is entitled Dekol'tirovannaya loshad' ("The Horse in a Decolette Dress," 1927).

One of Marina's lovers is Baron d'Onsky (an easy-going, lanky, likeable fellow). His nickname Skonky (anagram of konsky, "of a horse") suggests that he is a horse (Onegin's Don stallion).

Kon' and loshad' are synonyms, the only difference between them being that kon' is always a male horse while loshad' can designate both female (kobyla) and male animal. Kon' means also "knight" (chessman).

Alexey Sklyarenko

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