Vadim's novel Esmeralda and her Parandrus (1941) seems to correspond to VN's Bend Sinister (1947). Esmeralda may hint at Ember, the Shakespeare scholar in Bend Sinister. Then Parandrus is Shakespeare, stoustyi i nemyslimyi poet (the hundred-mouthed and unthinkable poet), as VN calls him in his poem Shakespeare (1924).
Parandrus is a mythical animal that can change its shape at will. In his poem Biblioteka (The Library, 1817-26) Vyazemski compares Voltaire to Briareus (the hundred-armed, fifty-headed son of Uranus and Gaea who is mentioned in The Iliad) and to Proteus (a sea god noted for his ability to assume different forms):
Писатель-Бриарей! Колдун! Протей-писатель!
The writer Briareus! A wizard! Protean writer!
Koldun (wizard) brings to mind Oleg Koldunov, a character in VN's story Lik (1939). Lik is an actor who in Suire's play L'Abîme (The Abysse) plays the part of Igor, a young Russian. The author compares Igor to the apple of discord:
The apple of discord is usually an early, sour fruit, and should be cooked. Thus the young man of the play threatens to be somewhat colorless, and it is in a vain attempt to touch him up a little that the author has made him a Russian, with all the obvious consequences of such trickery.
The Trojan war began because Paris had awarded the apple (the apple of discord) to Aphrodite.
Oleg Koldunov is a namesake of Oleg Igorevich Orlov, a Soviet spy who accompanies Vadim in his trip to Leningrad:
"Ekh!" he exclaimed, "Ekh, Vadim Vadimovich dorogoy (dear), aren't you ashamed of deceiving our great warm-hearted country, our benevolent, credulous government, our overworked Intourist staff, in this nasty infantile manner! A Russian writer! Snooping! Incognito! By the way, I am Oleg Igorevich Orlov, we met in Paris when we were young." (5.3)
There is Lik in Kalikakov (one of the two Soviet "diplomats" whom Vadim caught using the hollow in a tree-trunk for their correspondence, 5.1), Lika (Lika Mizinov, a friend and correspondent of Chekhov) ulika (piece of evidence) and Anzhelika (Angélique, another character in Suire's play).
Pandarus is a character (Trojan aristocrat) in The Iliad and in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida.
The mad scholar in Esmeralda and Her Parandrus wreathes Botticelli and Shakespeare together by having Primavera end as Ophelia with all her flowers. The loquacious lady in Dr. Olga Repnin remarks that tornadoes and floods are really sensational only in North America. (4.2)
Dr. Olga Repnin (1946) corresponds to VN's Pnin (1957). On the other hand, in Bend Sinister Olga is Krug's wife who dies early in the novel. Vadim's second wife, Annette Blagovo (who is associated with Botticelli's Primavera), drowns in the Rosedale Lake during a tornado.
p. s. to my post "LATH vs. Pushkin's Boris Godunov":
At the beginning of Tolstoy's Anna Karenin Stiva Oblonski wakes up and realizes that his wife Dolly is about to leave him. Annette Blagovo leaves Vadim because of his affair with Dolly Borg.
Dolly Borg to Terry Todd (who later gives Dolly his car for her trysts with Vadim but then informs Annette of her husband's infidelity): "Oh, Terry: this is the writer, the man who wrote Emerald and the Pander." (3.2)
Alexey Sklyarenko
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