Vadim first meets his second wife, Annette Blagovo, when she comes to work for him as a typist. (2.5)
Dostoevski first met his second wife, Anna Snitkin, when she came to work for him as a stenographer. Dostoevski was working on Igrok (The Gambler, 1867), the novel that had to be completed before a certain deadline (had the author failed to provide the manuscript in time, he would have lost the rights to his subsequent books to his publisher).
Vadim's father was a gambler and a rake. (2.5) The hero of Vadim's last Russian novel The Dare (Podarok Otchizne) typed by Annette writes "on a dare" a concise biography and critical appraisal of Fyodor Dostoevski. (ibid.)
The characters of The Gambler include "Grandmother," the General's old wealthy aunt who comes to Roulettenburg and starts to gamble, and Polina, the General's step-daughter with whom Alexey Ivanovich (the hero and narrator in Dostoevski's novella) is in love.
Princess Polina is a character in The Queen of Spades. In Pushkin's story Tomski (who ends up by marrying Princess Polina) is surprised that his grandmother does not gamble:
"I cannot understand," continued Tomski, "how it is that my grandmother does not punt."
"What is there remarkable about an old lady of eighty not punting?" said Narumov. (Chapter I)
Vadim's benefactor (who can be his real father), Count Starov, brings to mind staraya grafinya (the old Countess) in The Queen of Spades.
On the other hand, Nikifor Starov is a namesake of Nikifor, blagorodneyshiy starik (the noble old man) in Tarakan (The Cockroach), the fable by Ignat Lebyadkin,* a character in Dostoevski's Besy (The Possessed, 1872):
Но пока у них шёл крик,
Подошёл Никифор,
Благороднейший старик ...
While they [the flies] quarrelled,
Nikifor, the noble old man,
came near...
Accordig to Lebyadkin, Nikifor represents Nature. The flies in Lebyadkin's fable complain to Jupiter:
Место занял таракан,
Мухи возроптали,
Полон очень наш стакан,
К Юпитеру закричали.
The cockroach occupied the place,
The flies protested:
Our glass is too full,
They cried to Jupiter.
Jupiter's other name is Jove. As he speaks of his extravagant grand-aunt, Baroness Bredow, Vadim mentions Jove:
"Stop moping!" she would cry: "Look at the harlequins!
"What harlequins? Where?"
"Oh, everywhere. All around you. Trees are harlequins, words are harlequins. So are situations and sums. Put two things together--jokes, images--and you get a triple harlequin. Come on! Play! Invent the world! Invent reality!"
I did. By Jove, I did. I invented my grand-aunt in honor of my first daydreams, and now, down the marble steps of memory's front porch, here she slowly comes, sideways, sideways, the poor lame lady, touching each step edge with the rubber tip of her black cane.
Dora, the lady whom Vadim meets in Leningrad (5.2), is also lame and walks a cane. And so is Maria Lebyadkin (khromonozhka, lame woman), Ignat's mad sister in The Possessed.
As he speaks to Vadim, Oleg Orlov (who unbeknowst to Vadim accompanied him in his trip to Leningrad) mentions a namesake of F. M. Dostoevski:
"Two courses presented themselves. We had to choose. Fyodor Mihaylovich [?] himself had to choose. Either to welcome you po amerikanski (the American way) with
reporters, interviews, photographers, girls, garlands, and, naturally, Fyodor Mihaylovich himself [President of  the Union of Writers? Head of the 'Big House'?]; or else to ignore you--and that's what we did."
Dostoevski is the author of Zapiski iz myortvogo doma (Notes from the House of the Dead, 1860) and The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor (in The Brothers Karamazov, 1880). Omsk, the city where Dostoevski spent four years in prison, is mentioned in LATH (2.10). Dementia is one of the characters in Vadim's story (2.3). Many of Dostoevski's characters are mad. The hero of Vadim's Dare, Victor finds Dostoevski's politics hateful and condemns his novels as "absurd with their black-bearded killers presented as mere negatives of Jesus Christ's conventional image, and weepy whores borrowed from maudlin romances of an earlier age." (2.5)
When Vadim meets him in Switzerland, Charlie Everett (the future Karl Ivanovich Vetrov with whom Vadim's daughter Bel elopes to the Soviet Union) is "Christ-haired" (4. 7). According to Dora, Karl has no sense of ownership and will be shot some day like a common thief (5.2). Dostoevski is the author of Chestnyi vor (A Honest Thief, 1848).
In Blok's poem Retribution (1910-21) Dostoevski compares the hero's father to Byron. "He is a Byron, ergo he is Demon," decides the beau mond. Demon is the society nickname of Vadim's (official) father who was portrayed by Vrubel (2.5). Vadim's father died in a pistol duel with a young Frenchman on October 22, 1898 (six months before Vadim was born), after a card-table fracas at Deauville, some resort in gray Normandy. (ibid.)
Like Vadim, Frédéric Moreau (the hero of Flaubert's novel L'Éducation sentimentale, 1869) was born afer his father's death in a duel. Flaubert's "strange inheritance, Éducation sentimentale," and Vrubel's Demon are mentioned in Chapter Three of Blok's Retribution:
И жаль отца, безмерно жаль:
Он тоже получил от детства
Флобера странное наследство -
Education sentimentale.

Его опустошает Демон,
Над коим Врубель изнемог...
He [the father] is devastated by Demon
Over whom Vrubel was exhausted...
Dostoevski is the author of The Double (1848). Vadim Vadimovich N. is a double ("nonidentical twin, parody, inferior variant") of Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, the author of LATH.
*The author of "Pushkin's St. Petersburg Tales" (with The Queen of Spades being one of them), Hodasevich published the essay "The Poetry of Ignat Lebyadkin" (1931).
Alexey Sklyarenko
Google Search the archive Contact the Editors Visit "Nabokov Online Journal" Visit Zembla View Nabokv-L Policies Manage subscription options Visit AdaOnline View NSJ Ada Annotations Temporary L-Soft Search the archive

All private editorial communications are read by both co-editors.