The editor of Patria russifies the name of Vadim's first wife, calling Iris by her name and patronymic (as a polite Russian would do):
The editor of Patria, the émigré monthly in which Pawn Takes Queen had begun to be serialized, invited "Irida Osipovna" and me to a literary samovar. (Look at the Harlequins, Part One, chapter 11)
In the closing stanza of his poem Nil'skaya delta ("The Nile Delta", 1898) Vladimir Solov'yov opposes Deva Raduzhnykh Vorot (the Girl of Iridescent Gate*) to tryokhvenechnaya Izida (the goddess Isis in her triple crown):
Не Изида трёхвенечная
Ту весну им приведёт,
А нетронутая, вечная
«Дева Радужных Ворот».
In his autobiographical long poem Pervoe svidanie ("The First Encounter", 1921) Andrey Bely mentions Solov'yov, the author of autobiographical Tri svidaniya ("The Three Meetings", 1898), and his Girl of Iridescent Gate:
О Логосе мы спорим с ним,
Не соглашаясь с Трубецким,
Но соглашаясь с новым словом,
Провозглашённым Соловьёвым
О Деве Радужных Ворот,
О деве, что на нас сойдёт,
Овеяв бирюзовым зовом,
Всегда таимая средь нас:
Взирала из любимых глаз.
Boris Bugaev's pen name, Bely means in Russian "white". In LATH, Iris's maiden name is Black (and, in Greek mythology, Iris is goddess of the rainbow).
Andrey Bely and Alexander Blok were the two poets whom Solov'yov influenced most. The characters in Blok's play Balaganchik ("Little Booth," 1906) include the Harlequin (harlequins also occur in Bely's poems). Another character in Blok's play, payats (clown, pagliaccio) famously exclaims: Istekayu klyukvennym sokom ("I am bleeding with a cranberry juice")! Iris Black is assassinated by a White Russian, Wladimir Blagidze, alias Starov, who blows his brains out beside Iris's dead body. The hole in Blagidze's mind had caused a complete set of recent memories to escape; but the patient remembered quite clearly (according to a Russian male nurse good at decoding the tales of the tortured) how at six years of age he was taken to a pleasure park in Italy where a miniature train consisting of three open cars, each seating six silent children, with abattery-operated green engine that emitted at realistic intervals puffs of imitation smoke, pursued a circular course through a brambly picturesque nightmare grove whose dizzy flowers nodded continuous assent to all the horrors of childhood and hell. (LATH, 1.13)
In his Ital'yanskie stikhi ("Italian Verses", 1909) Blok compares Florence to the delicate, smoky bloom of an iris (dymnyi iris). VN's father died on March 28, 1922, in an assassination. VN was reading to his mother Blok's poem about Florence, when the telephone rang. (Speak, Memory, p. 40)
In honor of his wife, Vadim Vadimovich adopts the pen name Irisin. Irisin is a play on Sirin, VN's Russian nom de plume. In the 1910s Sirin was a publishing house that brought out the books of Symbolist poets, including Bely and Blok. Rodina ("Mother Country", 1907-16) is a cycle of Blok's poems. Cf. Patria, the publishing house that brings out Vadim's books.
In his poem Na smert' A. Bloka ("On the Death of A. Blok", 1921) Sirin compares Pushkin to the rainbow across the whole Earth and Lermontov, to the Milky Way above the mountains: Pushkin - raduga po vsey zemle. / Lermontov - put' mlechnyi nad gorami. In Sirin's poem Pushkin, Lermontov, Tyutchev and Fet meet Blok in paradise.
In a letter to Annette Blagovo, who is soon to become his second wife, Vadim Vadimovich compares her to a girl in Botticelli's Primavera, an allegory of Spring:
Do not write, do not phone, do not mention this letter, if and when you come Friday afternoon; but, please, if you do, wear, in propitious sign, the Florentine hat that looks like a cluster of wild flowers. I want you to celebrate your resemblance to the fifth girl from left to right, the flower-decked blonde with the straight nose and serious gray eyes, in Botticelli's Primavera, an allegory of Spring, my love, my allegory. (LATH, 2.7)
In Solov'yov's poem, it is the Girl of Iridescent Gate (and not Isis) who should bring vesna (Spring) to the dead:
Но не всё тобою взятое
Вверх несла ты каждый год:
Смертью древнею заклятое
Для себя весны всё ждёт.
Не Изида трёхвенечная
Ту весну им приведёт,
А нетронутая, вечная
«Дева Радужных Ворот».
*a Gnostic term (Solov'yov's footnote)
Alexey Sklyarenko
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