One of the anagraduses (anagrams with Gradus) in my previous post can be continued as follows:


Saltan + Borodino + zhena + Marksizm + raduga = Stalin + boroda + nozh + izmena + marka/karma/Makar + Gradus = Nostradamus + kniga + zhaloba + mir/Rim + rezon + ad/da


kniga – book

zhaloba – complaint; cf. Dorozhnye zhaloby (“Road Complaints,” 1830), a poem by Pushkin

mir – world; peace; cf. Voina i mir (“War and Peace,” 1869), a novel by Tolstoy

Rim – Rome

rezon – obs., reason

ad –hell

da – yes


Re Borodino and boroda (beard): in VN’s novel Lolita (1955) Quilty, trying to divert Humbert Humbert’s attention, mentions the Bagration Island in the Barda Sea:


Oh, another thing - you are going to like this. I have an absolutely unique collection of erotica upstairs. Just to mention one item: the in folio de-luxe Bagration Island by the explorer and psychoanalyst Melanie Weiss, a remarkable lady, a remarkable work - drop that gun - with photographs of eight hundred and something male organs she examined and measured in 1932 on Bagration, in the Barda Sea, very illuminating graphs, plotted with love under pleasant skies - drop that gun - and moreover I can arrange for you to attend executions, not everybody knows that the chair is painted yellow" (2.35).


General Bagration was mortally wounded in the battle of Borodino. Bagration (a Georgian Prince) had a very big nose and Denis Davydov (the bearded poet and partisan who also participated in the battle of Borodino) had a very small one. In his “Old Notebook” Vyazemski tells an amusing anecdote about Bagration and Davydov:


Денис Давыдов во время сражения докладывал князю Багратиону, по поручению начальствующего отдельным отрядом, что неприятель на носу. "Теперь, - говорит князь Багратион, - нужно знать, на каком носу: если на твоём, то откладывать нечего и должно идти на помощь; если на моём, то спешить ещё ни к чему".


Bagration plays on the phrase nepriyatel’ na nosu (the enemy is very near; literally: “on the nose”) used by Davydov. In PF Gradus thought that Izumrudov was onhava-onhava (“very, very far” in Zemblan). In Nostradamus there is nos (Russ., nose).


In order to reach the sea and escape from Zembla in a motorboat awaiting him in a sea cave, the King has to get over the Bera range. Bera = bear. Pushkin is the author of Skazka o medvedikhe (“The Fairy-Tale about the She-Bear,” 1830). The name of baba Babarikha (a villain in Pushkin’s “Fairy Tale about the Tsar Saltan”) rhymes with povarikha (the female cook, another evil character in “The Fairy Tale about the Tsar Saltan”), but also with bobrikha (she-beaver). Kinbote (whose brown beard is of a rather rich tint and texture) was nicknamed “the great Beaver.” According to Kinbote, he is a strict vegetarian (like all rodents, beavers are vegetarians) and likes to cook his own meals.


Alexey Sklyarenko

Google Search
the archive
the Editors
NOJ Zembla Nabokv-L
Subscription options AdaOnline NSJ Ada Annotations L-Soft Search the archive VN Bibliography Blog

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