Before jumping to her death in the Atlantic, Lucette (a character in VNs novel Ada, 1969) drinks three Cossack ponies of Klass vodka:


She drank a 'Cossack pony' of Klass vodka - hateful, vulgar, but potent stuff; had another; and was hardly able to down a third because her head had started to swim like hell. Swim like hell from sharks, Tobakovich! (3.5)


In his poem Sergeyu Eseninu (To Sergey Esenin, 1926) Mayakovski says that to die of vodka is better than to die of skuka (boredom):


        ӧէܧ ާ֧֧,
֧ ܧܧ!


In the same poem (written on Esenins suicide) Mayakovski mentions Klass (i. e., the working class) and says that Klass C on tozhe vypit ne durak (also loves to drink):


, ܧݧѧ-
                   ٧ѧݧڧӧѧ֧ ܧӧѧ?
ݧѧ - ا
                 ӧڧ ߧ էѧ.


Vans and Adas half-sister, Lucette is the daughter Daniel Veen and Marina Durmanov (Vans and Adas mother, poor mad Aquas twin sister). Lucettes father is known in society as Durak Walter or simply Red Veen:


On April 23, 1869, in drizzly and warm, gauzy and green Kaluga, Aqua, aged twenty-five and afflicted with her usual vernal migraine, married Walter D. Veen, a Manhattan banker of ancient Anglo-Irish ancestry who had long conducted, and was soon to resume intermittently, a passionate affair with Marina. The latter, some time in 1871, married her first lovers first cousin, also Walter D. Veen, a quite as opulent, but much duller, chap.

The D in the name of Aquas husband stood for Demon (a form of Demian or Dementius), and thus was he called by his kin. In society he was generally known as Raven Veen or simply Dark Walter to distinguish him from Marinas husband, Durak Walter or simply Red Veen. Demons twofold hobby was collecting old masters and young mistresses. He also liked middle-aged puns. (1.1)


Esenin is the author of Pugachyov (1921), a drama in verse. The son of a Don Cossack who led a great Cossack insurrection during the reign of Catherine II, Pugachyov is a character in Pushkins short novel Kapitanskaya dochka (A Captains Daughter, 1836). On the other hand, Pushkin is the author of Istoriya Pugachyova (The History of Pugachyov, 1834). Sending this book to Denis Davydov (a fellow poet and hero of the Patriotic War of 1812), Pushkin accompanied it with a poem To D. V. Davydov (To you, the bard, to you, the hero!.. 1836) in which he says that his Pugach (i. e. Pugachyov) is kazak pryamoy (a true Cossack):


֧ҧ, ֧ӧ, ֧ҧ, ԧ֧!

էѧݧ ާߧ ٧ ҧ
ԧާ ֧ߧ, ԧߧ
ܧѧܧѧ ߧ ҧ֧֧ߧ ܧߧ.
ѧ֧٧էߧڧ ާڧߧԧ ֧ԧѧ,
ڧ ѧԧ ѧߧѧ
ާէ ӧ֧էڧ ާߧէڧ:
ݧاҧ էߧ,
, ާ ߧѧ֧٧էߧڧ էߧ,

ާ ֧ ܧާѧߧէڧ.
ާ ԧѧ: ֧ӧ ӧ٧ԧݧէ
ӧڧէ֧ ݧ, ܧѧ٧ѧ ާ!
֧֧էӧ ӧ֧ է
էߧڧ ҧ ҧ ݧڧ.


In a letter of Nov. 25, 1892, to Suvorin Chekhov complains that modern art, and literature in particular, lacks the alcohol that would intoxicate the reader and mentions Denis Davydov:


ѧ ߧ֧էߧ ߧ, ߧѧѧߧ ҧѧߧڧ ֧ҧ ٧ , ߧ֧ߧ ӧѧاѧ֧֧. ԧܧڧ ߧڧ, ԧڧ ѧ ݧѧէܧڧ ݧڧާߧѧէ, , էѧӧѧ էݧاߧ ݧڧާߧѧէ, ѧӧ֧էݧڧӧ ٧ѧާ֧ѧ֧, ߧ֧ ߧ֧ ڧ. ߧѧڧ ڧ٧ӧ֧է֧ߧڧ ߧ֧ ڧާ֧ߧߧ ѧݧܧԧݧ, ܧ ҧ ߧڧ ѧҧѧ, էѧ֧ . ֧ԧ ߧ֧? ѧӧݧ ߧ "ѧݧѧ No 6" ާ֧ߧ ѧާԧ, ҧէ֧ ԧӧڧ ӧҧ, ڧҧ ڧߧ֧֧ߧ֧. է֧ ԧӧڧ ҧڧ ڧڧߧѧ, ܧݧ ѧ ߧ ܧߧ, էѧӧѧۧ ٧ѧӧѧڧ ֧ݧ . ܧѧاڧ ӧ֧, ܧ ڧ ާڧ ӧ֧ߧڧܧ, . . ݧէ֧ ӧ٧ѧ 30--45 ݧ֧, էѧ ާڧ էߧ ܧѧݧ ѧݧܧԧݧ? ѧ٧ӧ ݧ֧ߧܧ, ѧէ ӧ ߧߧ֧ߧڧ էѧާѧԧ ߧ ݧڧާߧѧ? ѧ٧ӧ ܧѧڧߧ ֧ڧߧ ڧݧ ڧܧڧߧ ܧاڧݧ ѧ ԧݧӧ? ڧݧ, ѧݧѧߧݧڧӧ, ӧڧѧ֧֧ ا ӧ֧ާ ߧڧܧѧ ߧ ާا֧ ٧ѧҧ, ѧ ֧ ܧڧ. ѧܧ ֧ߧڧܧ ֧֧اڧӧѧ ֧֧ ӧ֧ݧڧܧ ӧ֧ާ, էݧ ߧѧ֧ԧ ا ҧѧ ӧ֧ާ ݧ, ܧڧݧ, ܧߧ, ѧާ ާ ܧڧݧ ܧߧ, ާ֧֧ اէѧ ݧܧ ԧѧ֧֧ӧ ާѧݧڧܧ, ߧ ӧڧէڧ ԧ ݧܧ ѧ, ܧާ ڧէ էѧݧ ֧էܧ ҧߧ ߧ֧ էѧا ާ֧. ڧڧߧ ߧ ԧݧ ߧѧ֧, ߧ ҧ֧٧էѧߧ ߧ ߧѧԧݧ, ܧѧ էާѧ֧ ֧ߧڧ, ҧݧ֧٧ߧ, ܧѧ էݧ էاߧڧܧ ا ڧڧݧڧ ݧӧԧ ڧ֧ߧڧ. ߧѧ ߧ֧ "֧ԧ-", ѧӧ֧էݧڧӧ, ٧ߧѧڧ, էߧڧާڧ է ߧѧ֧ ާ٧, ӧڧէڧ ѧ ݧܧ ާ֧. ާߧڧ, ڧѧ֧ݧ, ܧ ާ ߧѧ٧ӧѧ֧ ӧ֧ߧާ ڧݧ ڧާ ܧ ߧ ߧѧ, ڧާ֧ էڧ ҧڧ ӧ֧ާ ӧѧاߧ ڧ٧ߧѧ: ߧ ܧէ- ڧէ ѧ ٧ӧ է ا, ӧӧ֧ ߧ ާ, ӧ֧ ӧڧ ֧ӧ, ߧڧ ֧ ܧѧܧѧ- ֧ݧ, ܧѧ ֧ߧ ѧާݧ֧, ܧѧ ߧ֧էѧ ڧէڧݧ ֧ӧاڧݧ ӧҧѧا֧ߧڧ. էߧڧ, ާ ܧѧݧڧҧ, ֧ݧ ҧݧڧاѧۧڧ -- ܧ֧ߧ ѧӧ, ӧҧاէ֧ߧڧ էڧߧ, ݧڧڧܧ, ܧѧ ڧݧ ӧէܧ, ܧѧ ֧ߧڧ ѧӧէӧ, էԧڧ ֧ݧ էѧݧקߧߧ -- ҧ, ٧ѧԧҧߧѧ اڧ٧ߧ, ѧ ֧ݧӧ֧֧ӧ . . ڧ ڧ ߧڧ ֧ѧݧߧ ڧ اڧ٧ߧ ѧܧ, ܧѧܧѧ ߧ ֧, ߧ ԧ, ܧѧاէѧ ܧ ڧѧߧ, ܧѧ ܧ, ٧ߧѧߧڧ֧ ֧ݧ, , ܧާ اڧ٧ߧ, ܧѧܧѧ ֧, ӧӧ֧ ֧ اڧ٧ߧ, ܧѧܧѧ էݧاߧ ҧ, ݧ֧ߧ֧ ѧ.


You are a hard drinker, and I have regaled you with sweet lemonade, and you, after giving the lemonade its due, justly observe that there is no spirit in it. That is just what is lacking in our productionsthe alcohol which could intoxicate and subjugate, and you state that very well. Why not? Putting aside "Ward No. 6" and myself, let us discuss the matter in general, for that is more interesting. Let ms discuss the general causes, if that won't bore you, and let us include the whole age. Tell me honestly, who of my contemporariesthat is, men between thirty and forty-fivehave given the world one single drop of alcohol? Are not Korolenko, Nadson, and all the playwrights of to-day, lemonade? Have Repin's or Shishkin's pictures turned your head? Charming, talented, you are enthusiastic; but at the same time you can't forget that you want to smoke. Science and technical knowledge are passing through a great period now, but for our sort it is a flabby, stale, and dull time. We are stale and dull ourselves, we can only beget gutta-percha boys, and the only person who does not see that is Stasov, to whom nature has given a rare faculty for getting drunk on slops. The causes of this are not to be found in our stupidity, our lack of talent, or our insolence, as Burenin imagines, but in a disease which for the artist is worse than syphilis or sexual exhaustion. We lack "something," that is true, and that means that, lift the robe of our muse, and you will find within an empty void. Let me remind you that the writers, who we say are for all time or are simply good, and who intoxicate us, have one common and very important characteristic; they are going towards something and are summoning you towards it, too, and you feel not with your mind, but with your whole being, that they have some object, just like the ghost of Hamlet's father, who did not come and disturb the imagination for nothing. Some have more immediate objectsthe abolition of serfdom, the liberation of their country, politics, beauty, or simply vodka, like Denis Davydov; others have remote objectsGod, life beyond the grave, the happiness of humanity, and so on. The best of them are realists and paint life as it is, but, through every line's being soaked in the consciousness of an object, you feel, besides life as it is, the life which ought to be, and that captivates you.


Lucette is twenty-five when she commits suicide. In his essay on Chekhov, Tvorchestvo iz nichego (Creation from Nothing, 1905), Lev Shestov (the philosopher whose pseudonym comes from shest, six) speaks of Chekhovs almost twenty-five-year-long literary work:


ҧ էӧ ݧӧѧ ֧է֧ݧڧ ֧ԧ ֧ߧէ֧ߧڧ, ܧѧا: ֧ ҧ ֧ӧ ҧ֧٧ߧѧէ֧اߧ. ߧ, ߧݧ, էߧҧѧ٧ߧ ֧֧ߧڧ ӧ֧ ӧ֧ 25-ݧ֧ߧ֧ ݧڧ֧ѧߧ է֧֧ݧߧ ֧ ݧܧ էߧ է֧ݧѧ: ֧ާ ڧݧ ڧߧާ ҧѧާ ҧڧӧѧ ֧ݧӧ֧֧ܧڧ ߧѧէ֧اէ. , ߧ ާ ӧ٧ԧݧ, ߧ ֧ԧ ӧ֧ӧ.


According to Shestov, in the course of his almost twenty-five-year-long literary work Chekhov was stubbornly and methodically killing human hopes.


skuka + voda = suka + vodka = vkus + Oka + ad/da = sad + bukovka + Van + oko - Nabokov

Denis Davydov + nom = syn Davidov + Demon = dym + end + son/nos + Avivov


skuka C boredom

voda C water

suka C bitch

vkus C taste

Oka C a river in the central Russia, the Volgas tributary

ad C hell

da C yes

sad C garden

bukovka C very small letter (a diminutive of bukva)

oko C obs., eye

nom C Fr., name

syn Davidov C son of David (Jesus Christ)

dym C smoke

son C sleep; dream

nos - nose

Avidov C Baron Klim Avidov (anagram of Vladimir Nabokov), Marinas former lover who gave her children a set of Flavita (the Russian Scrabble, 1.36)


In her French transversion of Marvells poem The Garden Ada mentions lOka:


'On the other hand,' said Van, 'one can well imagine a similarly bilingual Miss Rivers checking a French version of, say, Marvell's Garden -'

'Oh,' cried Ada, 'I can recite "Le jardin" in my own transversion - let me see -


En vain on s'amuse gagner

L'Oka, la Baie du Palmier...'


' win the Palm, the Oke, or Bayes!' shouted Van. (1.10)


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.