Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023629, Mon, 4 Feb 2013 01:02:32 +0300

Grace Wellington, born Erminin
Ada had declined to invite anybody except the Erminin twins to her picnic; but she had had no intention of inviting the brother without the sister. The latter, it turned out, could not come, having gone to New Cranton to see a young drummer, her first boy friend, sail off into the sunrise with his regiment. (Ada, 1.39)

So little did the world realize the real state of affairs that even Cordula Tobak, born de Prey, and Grace Wellington, born Erminin, spoke of Demon Veen, with his fashionable goatee and frilled shirtfront, as 'Van's successor.' (2.6)

The daughter of Colonel Erminin, Grace Erminin marries a soldier named Wellington. Erminia was a nickname of E. M. Khitrovo, the daughter of Kutuzov. The field marshal Kutuzov opposed Napoleon in the 1812 Patriotic War. The Duke of Wellington (who was Irish) defeated Napoleon in the Pyrenees and in the Battle of Waterloo.

Erminia + Aqua + Marina = Armenia + aquamarine
Waterloo = water + loo

According to some rumors, General Murat (Napoleon's brother-in-law who is mentioned in Ada: 1.28) was the son of an Armenian horse-breeder from Nagorny Karabakh.

Demon to Van: 'He is - I mean, Vinelander is - the scion, s,c,i,o,n, of one of those great Varangians who had conquered the Copper Tartars or Red Mongols - or whoever they were - who had conquered some earlier Bronze Riders - before we introduced our Russian roulette and Irish loo at a lucky moment in the history of Western casinos.' (2.10)

Van's mistress, Cordula de Prey enjoyed Varangian tragedies: He often took Cordula to French restaurants, English movies, and Varangian tragedies, all of which was most satisfying, for she relished every morsel, every sip, every jest, every sob, and he found ravishing the velvety rose of her cheeks, and the azure-pure iris of her festively painted eyes to which indigo-black thick lashes, lengthening and upcurving at the outer canthus, added what fashion called the 'harlequin slant.' (1.43)

Ada's fiance, Andrey Andreevich Vinelander is namesake of Van's Russian tutor Andrey Andreevich Aksakov (AAA): He could solve an Euler-type problem or learn by heart Pushkin's 'Headless Horseman' poem* in less than twenty minutes. With white-bloused, enthusiastically sweating Andrey Andreevich, he lolled for hours in the violet shade of pink cliffs, studying major and minor Russian writers - and puzzling out the exaggerated but, on the whole, complimentary allusions to his father's volitations and loves in another life in Lermontov's diamond-faceted tetrameters. He struggled to keep back his tears, while AAA blew his fat red nose, when shown the peasant-bare footprint of Tolstoy preserved in the clay of a motor court in Utah where he had written the tale of Murat, the Navajo chieftain, a French general's bastard, shot by Cora Day in his swimming pool. What a soprano Cora had been! Demon took Van to the world-famous Opera House in Telluride in West Colorado and there he enjoyed (and sometimes detested) the greatest international shows - English blank-verse plays, French tragedies in rhymed couplets, thunderous German musical dramas with giants and magicians and a defecating white horse. (1.28)

*On Terra, Pushkin's poem is known as Bronze Horseman. Headless Horseman is a novel by Captain Mayne Reid.

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/