Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023574, Tue, 8 Jan 2013 12:43:36 +0400

Re: main secret in Fame
Прошу прощения, что отвечаю по-русски.
Мне кажется, фраза "та-та, та-та-та-та, та-та " имеет прямое отношение к набоковской потусторонности (тогда еще не обозначенной Верой Набоковой и литературоведами) с которой писатель связывает "мечту", также перенесенную в иное измерение, потому что "та", означающая в контексте "иная" - указательное  местоимение за предел, вне это мира, не случайно оно повторяется столько раз, означая не только ритм колес поезда или разрывы ракет (петард, шутих).
Таким образом, Набоков определяет и свое отношение к религии, для него потусторонность "там" - творящая сила, а не земные боги.

Вторник, 8 января 2013, 0:41 +03:00 от Alexey Sklyarenko <skylark1970@MAIL.RU>:
>From VN's poem Slava (Fame, 1942):

>Эта тайна та-та, та-та-та-та, та-та,
>а точнее
сказать я не вправе.
>Оттого так смешна мне пустая мечта

читателе, теле и славе.
>Я без тела разросся, без отзвука жив,
>и со мной моя
тайна всечасно.
>Что мне тление книг, если даже разрыв
>между мной и
отчизною -- частность.
>Признаюсь, хорошо зашифрована ночь,
>но под
звёзды я буквы подставил
>и в себе прочитал, чем себя превозмочь,
>а точнее
сказать я не вправе.

>That main secret tra-tá-ta, tra-tá-ta, tra-tá
>and I must not be
>this is why I find laughable
the empty dream
>about readers, and body and

>Without body I've spread,
without echo I thrive,
>and with me all along is my
>A book's death can't affect me since even
the break
>between me and my land is a

>I admit that the night has been ciphered right
>but in place of the stars I put letters,
>and I've read in myself how the self to transcend
>and I must not be overexplicit.

>This suggests that, at least
in the original, ta-ta, ta-ta-ta-ta, ta-ta stands for the phrase that
makes sense and consists of three words. Two of
them are two-syllable words and the middle
word has four syllables. In the ciphered phrase the last
two-syllable word should rhyme with mechta (dream). Say, moi neporochny usta (my lips are innocent) would meet these

>There are in Fame many allusions to Pushkin's Exegi Monumentum (1836). "The now
savage" and "friends of the steppes" evoked by the author's mysterious and
unpleasant visitor (ll. 75-76) clearly hint at the Tungus and the Kalmuck
mentioned by Pushkin (see also VN's footnotes to Fame ). Even the rhyme velikom (great) - dikom  (savage) was borrowed (and
slightly improved by VN) from the third stanza of Pushkin's poem. Tlenie knig (rendered by VN as "a book's death," but literally
meaning "the decay of books") mentioned in Fame  corresponds
to the second stanza of Exegi Monumentum :

>"No, I'll not wholly die. My
soul in the sacred lyre
>is to survive my dust and
flee decay [ tlen'ya ubezhit ];
>and I'll be famed
[ slaven ] while there remains alive
>in the sublunar world at
least one poet."
>In Pushkin's Razgovor knigoprodavtsa s poetom (Conversation
of Bookseller with Poet, 1824; for VN's translation of it see
his EO Commentary, Two, pp. 13-19*) the Bookseller compares slava (fame) to a gaudy patch upon the songster's threadbare

>Что слава?— Яркая заплата
>На ветхом рубище

>The hero of Gogol's Shinel' (The
Overcoat, 1842), Akakiy Akakievich (who is mentioned in Fame : ll.
12-13) is not a songster, and even the gaudiest patch (or zaplatochka , "a tiny patch," as poor Bashmachkin puts it) would
not save his old cloak ( kapot ) from disintegration:

>Понюхав табаку,
Петрович растопырил капот на руках и рассмотрел его против света и опять покачал головою. Потом
обратил его подкладкой вверх и вновь покачал,
вновь снял крышку с генералом, заклеенным  бумажкой, и, натащивши в нос табаку, закрыл, спрятал табакерку и
наконец  сказал:
>- Нет, нельзя поправить: худой
>У Акакия Акакиевича при этих
словах екнуло сердце.
>- Отчего же нельзя,
Петрович?  -  сказал  он  почти  умоляющим 
голосом ребенка, - ведь только всего что на
плечах поистерлось, ведь у тебя есть же  какие-нибудь кусочки...
>- Да кусочки-то можно найти, кусочки
найдутся, - сказал Петрович, -  да  нашить-то нельзя: дело совсем гнилое, тронешь иглой - а вот уж оно
и ползет.
>- Пусть ползет, а ты тотчас
>- Да заплаточки не на чем
положить, укрепиться ей не за что, подержка больно велика. Только слава что сукно, а подуй ветер, так
>- Ну, да уж прикрепи. Как же этак,
право, того!..

>Having taken a pinch of snuff, Petrovitch
held up the cloak, and inspected it against the light, and again shook his head
once more. After which he again lifted the general-adorned lid with its bit of
pasted paper, and having stuffed his nose with snuff, closed and put away the
snuff-box, and said finally, "No, it is impossible to mend it; it's a wretched
>Akakiy Akakievitch's heart sank at these words.
>"Why is
it impossible, Petrovitch?" he said, almost in the pleading voice of a child;
"all that ails it is, that it is worn on the shoulders. You must have some
pieces --"
>"Yes, patches could be found, patches are easily found," said Petrovitch, "but there's
nothing to sew them to. The thing is completely rotten; if you put a needle to
it -- see, it will give way."
>"Let it
give way, and you can put on another patch at once."
>"But there is nothing to put the patches on to; there's no use in strengthening it;
it is too far gone. It's lucky that it's cloth; for, if the wind were to blow,
it would fly away."
>"Well, strengthen it again. How will this, in fact --"

>According to Dostoevski, "we all come out from Gogol's Overcoat ." Although VN admired Gogol (particularly,  The
Overcoat ), he probably would not have subscribed to that
statement (and, besides, he loathed Dusty's company). And although he did
not mind trying on occasionally Pushkin's or Blok's romantic cloak,
VN's literary costume was strikingly original. In Fame he describes it as follows: 

>Я божком себя вижу, волшебником
с птичьей
>головой, в изумрудных перчатках, в чулках
>из лазурных чешуй.
Прохожу. Перечтите
>и остановитесь на этих

myself I appear as an idol, a wizard
>bird-headed, emerald gloved, in
of bright blue scales. I pass by. Reread it
pause for a moment to ponder these lines.

footnote: The injunction is addressed to those -
probably nonexisting - readers who might care to decipher an allusion in
lines 45-47 to the sirin , a fabulous fowl in Slavic mythology,
and "Sirin," the author's penname in his 1920-1940

>Sirin's everyday costume was bright and festive
and never needed a patch (he simply shed it, as snakes shed their old
skin, when he moved to America and turned into Nabokov). On the other hand,
Sirin's sharp eye would notice what most readers did not: the clean back of
the chimney-sweep who blackened the shoulder of Akakiy Akakievich after the
latter had left Petrovich:

>Вышед на
улицу, Акакий Акакиевич был как во сне. "Этаково-то  дело этакое, - говорил он сам себе, - я, право, и не думал, чтобы
оно вышло  того...- а потом,
после некоторого молчания, прибавил: - Так вот
как!  наконец вот что вышло, а я, право, совсем и
предполагать не мог, чтобы оно  было этак". Засим
последовало опять долгое молчание, после которого он  произнес: "Так этак-то! вот какое уж, точно,
никак неожиданное, того...  этого бы никак...
этакое-то обстоятельство!" Сказавши это, он, вместо того  чтобы идти домой, пошел совершенно в противную
сторону, сам того не  подозревая. Дорогою задел его
всем нечистым своим боком трубочист и вычернил  все
плечо ему; целая шапка извести высыпалась на него с верхушки строившегося дома. Он ничего этого не 

>Akakiy Akakievitch went
out into the street as if in a dream. "Such an affair!" he said to himself: "I
did not think it had come to --" and then after a pause, he added, "Well, so it
is! see what it has come to at last! and I never imagined that it was so!" Then
followed a long silence, after which he exclaimed, "Well, so it is! see what
already -- nothing unexpected that -- it would be nothing -- what a strange
circumstance!" So saying, instead of going home, he went in exactly the opposite
direction without himself suspecting it. On the way, a
chimney-sweep bumped up against him, and blackened his shoulder, and a whole
hatful of rubbish landed on him from the top of a house which was building. He
did not notice it...

>Btw., it is
a happy token (but apparently not in Gogol's world), when a chimney-sweep
touches you.

>Eta taina: spina trubochista
chista (That main secret: the back of a chimney-sweep is
clean). Btw., what about the back of the author's waxlike guest whose red
nostrils are soot-stuffed? Who is this visitor

>*[POET] what's fame? Is it a
reader's whisper?
>Base ignorance's
>Or a fool's


>Lord Byron held the same
opinion** (ll. 73-76 of Pushkin's Conversation )


>Byron went to Pope, and Pushkin
went to Pichot. Pope ( An Essay on Man , ep. IV, 237-38)
>"What's fame? a fancy'd life in
other's breath,
>A thing beyond us, ev'n before
our death."
>Byron ( Don Juan , I,
CCXVIII, 1-2, 7-8) has:
>What is the end of Fame? 'tis
but to fill
>A certain portion of uncertain
>To have, when the original is
>A name, a picture and worse
bust." (EO Commentary, Two, p.

>If I
were writing an article for The Nabokovian (but I am too lazy for that), I
would quote the closing lines of Lermontov's Zhurnalist, chitatel' i
pisatel' (Journalist, Reader, and Writer, 1840) in which slava  is mentioned:

>О нет! преступною мечтою
>Не ослепляя мысль
>Такой тяжелою ценою
>Я вашей славы не куплю.

>Lermontov's Reader does not recommend to touch Russian
magazines bez perchatok (in ungloved hands). Note the rhymes chista (clean) - pustota (emptiness)
and  mechtoyu (with a dream) - tsenoyu (at the

>Во-первых, серая бумага,
>Она, быть может, и
>Да как-то страшно без перчаток…
>(apologies, no

>I would also point out zlata, zlata, zlata (gold,
gold, gold) rhyming with zaplata (patch) in Pushkin's Conversation . Btw.,  zlo is Russian for

>The fact that the author bursts out laughing when his visitor
utters the word  Geroi (Hero) is also interesting. Geroi (The Hero, 1831) is a poem by Pushkin, a dialogue between Poet and
Friend. The Poet famously says in it: "More than a myriad of low truths / I
value the Delusion that exalts us." Obman (Delusion) rhymes here with tiran (tyrant). A more frequent rhyme of obman is roman (romance; novel).

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