Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023583, Mon, 14 Jan 2013 01:36:44 +0300

Karlik in Pale Fire
At forty, not long before the collapse of his throne, he had attained such a degree of scholarship that he dared accede to his venerable uncle's raucous dying request: "Teach, Karlik!" (Pale Fire, Kinbote's Note to Line 12)

Karlik being Russian for "dwarf," one is reminded of Mayakovski's poem Monte Carlo (1929), in which VN's "late namesake" contemptuously calls the inhabitants of the gambling resort

poganen'kie montekarliki
("the vile dwarfish Monte Carlians").

In fact, this is the poem's closing line.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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