Speaking of Esenin, I forgot to mention that in his earlier poetry he often used Christian symbolism, interpreting it rather freely. The request "Gospodi, otelis'!" ("Do calve, Lord!"), in the beginning of Preobrazhenie ("Transfiguration", 1917), became proverbial. According to Khodasevich, in Esenin's religion (the original blend of Christianity and paganism): Christ = son of heaven and earth = harvest = calf = the incarnation of heavenly truth = the coming Rus. Telok (the calf) in this series makes one think of Biblical zolotoy telets (the golden calf), but also of Ilf and Petrov's novel Zolotoy telyonok ("The Golden Calf"). Its hero, Ostap Bender, confesses that he once impersonated Jesus Christ. The title of the first novel of Ilf and Petrov's dilogy, "The 12 chairs", reminds one of Blok's poem "The Twelve" ending in the unexpected appearance of Christ.
Telets is also Russian for "Taurus", a zidiacal constellation and sign of the zodiac. VN and his two bêtes noires, Lenin and Freud, were tel'tsy (Taurus). One also remembers "the astorium in St. Taurus", Aqua's last hospital in Ada (1.3).
The place names Ladoga and Kitezh that occur in Ada are also mentioned in Esenin's poem Inonia (1918).
Perhaps I was wrong saying that Esenin dined with the tsar, but it is true that he read his poetry to the Empress.
Alexey Sklyarenko
Search the archive Contact the Editors Visit "Nabokov Online Journal"
Visit Zembla View Nabokv-L Policies Manage subscription options

All private editorial communications, without exception, are read by both co-editors.