Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023661, Wed, 13 Feb 2013 00:24:57 +0300

usque ad Russkum
A. Bouazza: Just two small corrections. The quoted stanza from Don Juan is number XLII (42), and the name should be Dudù, a "u" with an accent grave.

In his EO Commentary (volume II, p. 479), VN points out that Byron rhymed "Souvaroff-lover of" and "Suwarow-sorrow" instead of the correct "Suvorov-more of." In a MS note (reproduced by VN in his EO Commentary, II, p. 478) Pushkin says that Byron made other, more important mistakes, describing Russia in Don Juan. I hope Lord Byron's shade will pardon me my slips (and thanks to Abdel for correcting them).

Btw., "this usque ad Russkum" mentioned in Ada (1.38) by Demon ('I suspect your uncle has a cache behind the solanders in his study and keeps there a finer whisky than this usque ad Russkum') reminds me of Mouskin-Pouskin, as Byron misspells Musin-Pushkin in Don Juan (Canto VII). The Counts Musin-Pushkin are distantly related to the plain Pushkins. In My Pedigree (1830) the poet says that he is a plain Pushkin, not Musin. In Post Scriptum to My Pedigree Pushkin quotes Bulgarin ("Figlyarin") who "decided" that the poet's black grandfather* Hannibal was bought for a bottle of rum.

*actually, maternal great-grandfather

Alexey Sklyarenko

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