Vladimir Nabokov

Uncle Conmal – a Mason?

By MARYROSS, 6 July, 2023

Here is some more on Masonry in Pale Fire:

 

In PF Kinbote cites a Shadean variant:

 

“I am not slave! Let be my critic slave.

I cannot be. And Shakespeare would not want thus.

Let drawing students copy the acanthus

I work with Master on the architrave.”

 

(p.218)

 

 

 

The original Freemasons were in fact, stonemasons. This does not mean that they sweated in the sun laying bricks. Master masons were architects of palaces and churches and designers of all the fancy embellishments. Apprentice masons learned by copying designs with the compass and square (the masonic symbols). The acanthus was a common design element, but the designing of the architrave is a unique work of art by a Master mason. 

 

This suggests that the master artist is inspired directly by the Grand Architect of the Universe.  Masons believe in laying the “steps” (gradus) of personal evolution towards eventually having a direct apprehension of divinity. 

 

VN mentions the “modern architect” (i.e. inept) in a variant to Line 57:

 

“All doors have keys. Your modern architect

Is in collusion with psychanalysts:”

 

(p.73)

 

One could assume that he only uses “architect” as a lead-in to a usual dig on Freud’s Primal Scene.” But this comes right after the word “keys.” There is also a misprint of “psychoanalyst.” Nabokov, we know, was extremely careful with his words, and fastidious with misprints.

 

It turns out the Masons really like Jung! Even though Shade/VN is denigrating Freud, he tends to lump all psychoanalysts as “quacks”, etc. He ludicrously mentions two other psychoanalysts in PF, so we might say that it is a PF trope to consider. Perhaps he felt that the traditional Masons (i.e. ‘architects’) were becoming too modern psychology oriented.

Alexey Sklyarenko

7 months 4 weeks ago

It is easy to sneer at Conmal's faults. They are the naive failings of a great pioneer. He lived too much in his library, too little among boys and youths. Writers should see the world, pluck its figs and peaches, and not keep constantly meditating in a tower of yellow ivory - which was also John Shade's mistake, in a way. (note to Line 962)

 

Gulyaka prazdnyi (an idle loafer), as Salieri calls him in Pushkin’s little tragedy “Mozart and Salieri” (1830), Mozart was a Mason. Accordig to Salieri, in the boundless art he reached a high degree. Gradus (the name of Shade's murderer) is Latin for "degree." At the end of Pushkin’s little tragedy Salieri wonders if Vatican’s creator (Michelangelo) was a murderer:

 

Ты заснёшь
Надолго, Моцарт! Но ужель он прав,
И я не гений? Гений и злодейство
Две вещи несовместные. Неправда:
А Бонаротти? Или это сказка
Тупой, бессмысленной толпы — и не был
Убийцею создатель Ватикана?

 

Your sleep
Will be a long one, Mozart. But is he right,
And I’m no genius? Genius and villainy
Are two things incompatible. Not true:
What about Buonarroti? Or is that just
A fable of stupid, senseless crowd,
And the Vatican’s creator was no murderer?
(scene II, transl. A. Shaw)

 

In Pushkin’s little tragedy Mozart uses the phrase nikto b (none would):

 

Когда бы все так чувствовали силу
Гармонии! Но нет: тогда б не мог
И мир существовать; никто б не стал
Заботиться о нуждах низкой жизни;
Все предались бы вольному искусству.

 

If all could feel like you the power

of harmony! But no: the world

could not go on then. None would

bother about the needs of lowly life;

All would surrender to free art. (Scene II)


Shade’s, Kinbote’s and Gradus’s “real” name, Botkin is nikto b in reverse.

MARYROSS

7 months 4 weeks ago

Pushkin was a Mason. Many of the artists, writers, etc. alluded to in PF were Masons, Rosicrucians, or members of other secret societies. I am not aware of Mozart being alluded to in PF, but I suppose, through VN's adulation of Pushkin, we can see the Mozart/Salieri relationship is somewhat like Kinbote/Shade relationship.

The mystics across the ages claim that the personality identification disappears after enlightenment, therefore they feel they are "no one," "nobody" –"nikto" without the "b".

MARYROSS

7 months 4 weeks ago

I was about to write some more on the Mason/architect connection in PF regarding the "master builder" and his three apprentices, Yon, Yonny and Angeling, but decided first to jump into the Wayback machine and search. Lo and behold, this was discussed back in 2001, by Robert Mills, Stephen Anderson, and Brian Boyd.

https://thenabokovian.org/node/28194

So, I am not alone.

 

There are 3 degrees in the original Masons (still are in some) and that mushroomed into 33 for Scottish Rite and others. They are "apprentice," "journeyman" and "master," just as with actual stone masons. To recap here is the passage:

 

“Shadows, the, a regicidal organization which commissioned Gradus (q.v.) to assassinate the self-banished king; its leader's terrible name cannot be mentioned, even in the Index to the obscure work of a scholar; his maternal grandfather, a well-known and very courageous master builder, was hired by Thurgus the Turgid, around 1885, to make certain repairs in his quarters, and soon after that perished, poisoned in the royal kitchens, under mysterious circumstances, together with his three young apprentices whose first names Yan, Yonny, and Angeling, are preserved in a ballad still to be heard in some of our wilder valleys.” (my emphasis)

 

Here we have the Shadows, a secret organization, which includes Gradus (Masonic steps), a "terrible name cannot be mentioned," a "master builder" and three "apprentices," whose names begin with the "Y" sound of "J."  The Masons keep secret a word which must not ever be mentioned. 

 

This is an apparent spoof on the Masonic apotheotic ritual of Hiram Abif, the master builder of Solomon’s temple. The story of Hiram Abif is allegoric of every man who works to “build his temple” on Earth and becomes restored through knowledge of eternal life.  Three apprentice Masons, Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum,[1] seeking to discover the master builder’s secret word, murdered Hiram and buried him secretly. In the rite, the initiate “discovers” himself in Hiram’s tomb and receives the secret word which “resurrects” him. The word is never to be divulged – so a “substitute” is given.  However, the Scottish Royal Arch Masons, claimed to have found Hiram’s true secret word – “Jahbulon.” This is supposedly a conflation of “Jahweh”, “Ba’al”, and “Osiris.” Some say the word is just “Ba’al,” the Gnostic demi-urge.  Some of you may recall my presentation on "Balthasar" as related to Ba'al at the 2022 Convention. “Ba’al” is also the root word of “Beelzebub”[2] who is conflated with Ba’al and likewise venerated. Writers of the New Testament refer to Ba’al/Beelzebub as the “Prince of Demons” (Mt. 12:24, 27; Mk. 3:22; Lk. 11:15, 18f.). He is also called “Lord of the Flies,” due to the belief in the spontaneous generation of flies from offal – i.e. symbolic of spiritual life arising out of the muck.


 

[1] “J” pronounced “Y” as in “Yonny”; Some Christian Masonic Lodges were considered “Johanine.”

[2] Note for possible “borrowing” that “Beelzebub” appears in Milton’s Paradise Lost.

 

 

In his Index to Pale Fire Kinbote mentions a very courageous master builder who was poisoned in the royal kitchens, together with his three young apprentices, Yan, Yonny, and Angeling:

 

Shadows, the, a regicidal organization which commissioned Gradus (q.v.) to assassinate the self-banished king; its leader's terrible name cannot be mentioned, even in the Index to the obscure work of a scholar; his maternal grandfather, a well-known and very courageous master builder, was hired by
Thurgus the Turgid, around 1885, to make certain repairs in his quarters, and soon after that perished, poisoned in the royal kitchens, under mysterious circumstances, together with his three young apprentices whose pretty first names Yan, Yonny, and Angeling, are preserved in a ballad still to be heard in some of our wilder valleys.

 

Alexander Blok’s cycle Yamby (“The Iambs,” 1907-14) is dedicated to the memory of Angelina Aleksandrovna Blok (the poet’s half-sister, 1892-1918) and has for epigraph the lines from Juvenal’s Satires (I, 79): Fecit indignatio versum (Indignation gives inspiration to verse). The epigraph to Blok’s poem Vozmezdie (“Retribution,” 1910-21), Yunost’ – eto vozmezdie (Youth is retribution), is from Ibsen’s play “The Master Builder” (1892).

 

In the names Angeling and Angelina there is angel. Angel = angle. In geometry, gradus is Russian for "degree" (of an angle). In many English speaking countries, the Masonic Square and Compasses are depicted with the letter "G" in the center:

 

Standard image of masonic square and compasses

 

The letter has multiple meanings, representing different words depending on the context in which it is discussed. The most common is that the "G" stands for God. Another is that it stands for Geometry, and is to remind Masons that Geometry and Freemasonry are synonymous terms described as being the "noblest of sciences", and "the basis upon which the superstructure of Freemasonry and everything in existence in the entire universe is erected." In this context, it can also stand for Great Architect of the Universe (a non-denominational reference to God).

 

Saint Peter (the Apostle for whom VN’s home city was named) and his brother Saint Andrew were anglers (fishermen). Peter's execution was ordered by the Roman Emperor Nero, who blamed the city's Christians for a terrible fire that had ravaged Rome. Peter requested to be crucified upside down, as he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as Christ. The Roman letter V looks like the Masonic Compasses that stand on their head. According to Kinbote, Gradus (Shade's murderer) contended that the real origin of his name should be sought in the Russian word for grape, vinograd, to which a Latin suffix had adhered, making it Vinogradus:

 

By an extraordinary coincidence (inherent perhaps in the contrapuntal nature of Shade's art) our poet seems to name here (gradual, gray) a man, whom he was to see for one fatal moment three weeks later, but of whose existence at the time (July 2) he could not have known. Jakob Gradus called himself variously Jack Degree or Jacques de Grey, or James de Gray, and also appears in police records as Ravus, Ravenstone, and d'Argus. Having a morbid affection for the ruddy Russia of the Soviet era, he contended that the real origin of his name should be sought in the Russian word for grape, vinograd, to which a Latin suffix had adhered, making it Vinogradus. His father, Martin Gradus, had been a Protestant minister in Riga, but except for him and a maternal uncle (Roman Tselovalnikov, police officer and part-time member of the Social-Revolutionary party), the whole clan seems to have been in the liquor business. Martin Gradus died in 1920, and his widow moved to Strasbourg where she soon died, too. Another Gradus, an Alsatian merchant, who oddly enough was totally unrelated to our killer but had been a close business friend of his kinsmen for years, adopted the boy and raised him with his own children. It would seem that at one time young Gradus studied pharmacology in Zurich, and at another, traveled to misty vineyards as an itinerant wine taster. We find him next engaging in petty subversive activities - printing peevish pamphlets, acting as messenger for obscure syndicalist groups, organizing strikes at glass factories, and that sort of thing. Sometime in the forties he came to Zembla as a brandy salesman. There he married a publican's daughter. His connection with the Extremist party dates from its first ugly writhings, and when the revolution broke out, his modest organizational gifts found some appreciation in various offices. His departure for Western Europe, with a sordid purpose in his heart and a loaded gun in his pocket, took place on the very day that an innocent poet in an innocent land was beginning Canto Two of Pale Fire. We shall accompany Gradus in constant thought, as he makes his way from distant dim Zembla to green Appalachia, through the entire length of the poem, following the road of its rhythm, riding past in a rhyme, skidding around the corner of a run-on, breathing with the caesura, swinging down to the foot of the page from line to line as from branch to branch, hiding between two words (see note to line 596), reappearing on the horizon of a new canto, steadily marching nearer in iambic motion, crossing streets, moving up with his valise on the escalator of the pentameter, stepping off, boarding a new train of thought, entering the hall of a hotel, putting out the bedlight, while Shade blots out a word, and falling asleep as the poet lays down his pen for the night. (note to Line 17)

 

The Masonic Square resembles the tilted letter L (Lenin's initial). Kinbote mockingly calls Gradus "Vinogradus" and "Leningradus:"

 

All this is as it should be; the world needs Gradus. But Gradus should not kill things. Vinogradus should never, never provoke God. Leningradus should not aim his peashooter at people even in dreams, because if he does, a pair of colossally thick, abnormally hairy arms will hug him from behind and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. (note to Line 171)

 

Leningrad was St. Petersburg's name in 1924-91. In Blok's poem Neznakomka (“The Stranger,” 1906) the tipplers with the pink eyes of rabbits shout “in vino veritas!” (in wine is truth):

А рядом у соседних столиков
Лакеи сонные торчат,
И пьяницы с глазами кроликов
"In vino veritas!" кричат.

 

And nearby, at other tables,
waiters drowsily hover,
and tipplers with the pink eyes of rabbits
shout: In vino veritas!

 

In vinograd (grape) there are vino (Russian for "wine") and grad (an archaic form of gorod, "city") .

 

Btw., the three main characters in Pale Fire, Shade, Kinbote and Gradus, make one think of a triangle (a geometric figure) or of three dots in a triangle (a Masonic emblem). Another Masonic emblem is an apron. In Tolstoy’s novel Voyna i mir (“War and Peace,” 1869) a white leathern apron is put on Pierre Bezukhov, when he becomes a member of the Masons. In his Commentary Kinbote quotes Shade's words about their common acquaintance, "The man is as corny as a cook-out chef apron:" 

 

Speaking of the Head of the bloated Russian Department, Prof. Pnin, a regular martinet in regard to his underlings (happily, Prof. Botkin, who taught in another department, was not subordinated to that grotesque "perfectionist"): "How odd that Russian intellectuals should lack all sense of humor when they have such marvelous humorists as Gogol, Dostoevski, Chekhov, Zoshchenko, and those joint authors of genius Ilf and Petrov."

Talking of the vulgarity of a certain burly acquaintance of ours: "The man is as corny as a cook-out chef apron." Kinbote (laughing): "Wonderful!"

The subject of teaching Shakespeare at college level having been introduced: "First of all, dismiss ideas, and social background, and train the freshman to shiver, to get drunk on the poetry of Hamlet or Lear, to read with his spine and not with his skull." Kinbote: "You appreciate particularly the purple passages?" Shade: "Yes, my dear Charles, I roll upon them as a grateful mongrel on a spot of turf fouled by a Great Dane." (note to Line 172)

 

In his Open Letter to Stalin (dated August 17, 1939) Fyodor Raskolnikov (a Soviet diplomat, 1892-1939) famously calls Stalin "a chef preparing spicy dishes:" 

 

Вы - повар, готовящий острые блюда, для нормального человеческого желудка они не съедобны.

You are a chef preparing spicy dishes, for a normal human stomach they are not edible.

 

The terrible name of the leader of the Shadows that cannot be mentioned, even in the Index to the obscure work of a scholar, seems to be Stalin. Prishli i stali teni nochi (“The shadows of the night came and mounted guard at my door,” 1842) is a poem by Yakov Polonski.

 

On the other hand, Angeling seems to be a cross between Friedrich Engels (Engel is German for "angel") and Eleanor Aveling, Karl Marx's daughter who translated Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1856) into English. One of the three young apprentices of a well-known and very courageous master builder (the maternal grandfather of the leader of the Shadows), Yonny brings to mind Yonville, a larger market town to which Charles Bovary (Emma's husband, a doctor) moves his practice from the village of Tostes. When Emma leaves Tostes (or Tôtes, pronounced "tot") for Yonville, she is pregnant. Tot is German for "dead" and the Russian spelling of Thoth, an ancient Egyptian deity. In art, Thoth was often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or a baboon, animals sacred to him. Thoth's Greek equivalent is Hermes. Hermes plays the role of the psychopomp or "soul guide"—a conductor of souls into the afterlife. 

 

Describing IPH (a lay Institute of Preparation for the Hereafter) in Canto Three of his poem, Shade calls his little daughter "a mere tot:"

 

L'if, lifeless tree! Your great Maybe, Rabelais:

The grand potato. I.P.H., a lay

Institute (I) of Preparation (P)

For the Hereafter (H), or If, as we

Called it - big if! - engaged me for one term

To speak on death ("to lecture on the Worm,"

Wrote President McAber). You and I,

And she, then a mere tot, moved from New Wye

To Yewshade, in another, higher state. (ll. 501-509)

 

"Big if" brings to mind "the big G" snubbed by the Institute:

 

While snubbing gods, including the big G,

Iph borrowed some peripheral debris

From mystic visions; and it offered tips

(The amber spectacles for life's eclipse) -

How not to panic when you're made a ghost:

Sidle and slide, choose a smooth surd, and coast,

Meet solid bodies and glissade right through,

Or let a person circulate through you.

How to locate in blackness, with a gasp,

Terra the Fair, an orbicle of jasp.

How to keep sane in spiral types of space.

Precautions to be taken in the case

Of freak reincarnation: what to do

On suddenly discovering that you

Are now a young and vulnerable toad

Plump in the middle of a busy road,

Or a bear cub beneath a burning pine,

Or a book mite in a revived divine. (ll. 549-566)

 

God is dog in reverse. Bunin's poem Odinochestvo ("Loneliness," 1903) ends in the line Khorosho by sobaku kupit' (It would be good to buy a dog). Ivan Bunin's second wife, Vera Muromtsev, called her husband "Yan."

MARYROSS

7 months 3 weeks ago

Pale Fire’s references to Freemasonry are actually hidden in plain sight. The Sun, Moon and stars (Pale Fire tropes) decorate Masonic lodges due to their belief in astrology[1]. Hermetic alchemic[2] symbols such as the compass and square are reflected in Pale Fire’s circular recurso motif and the poem’s quaternity structure; lodge floors are chess-board black and white squares, indicating the dualistic dark and light of Man’s nature. In Pale Fire this is also suggestive of the chess motif, as are “knights.” The medieval Knights Templar are attributed with bringing chess to Europe. A “knight’s move” and a chessboard, in fact, may be intimated by the sudden turn of events on the day of John Shade’s death as “horseshoe music from Mystery Lodge” (C 289); the “horseshoes” indicating the approaching knight (“knight”= “knave”= “Jack” Grey) and “Mystery Lodge” a “mystic” Masonic Lodge. 


 

[1] There are astrological allusions in Pale Fire (see e.g. my Judge Goldsworth, https://thenabokovian.org/node/35564

[2] There are too many examples of alchemy in Pale Fire to enumerate here. See Lindsy Abrams Alchemic Pale Fire

MARYROSS

7 months 3 weeks ago

I should also note that many lodges are 3-storied to reflect their notion of the Hermetic tri-part man - in this case the apprentice, journeyman, and master. We can see this in Pale Fire as the three main characters, G, K & S, especially as Jungian archetypes of Shadow, Ego, Persona which together create the Self (i.e. Botkin).

 

 

Speaking of the Head of the bloated Russian Department, Prof. Pnin, a regular martinet in regard to his underlings (happily, Prof. Botkin, who taught in another department, was not subordinated to that grotesque "perfectionist"): "How odd that Russian intellectuals should lack all sense of humor when they have such marvelous humorists as Gogol, Dostoevski, Chekhov, Zoshchenko, and those joint authors of genius Ilf and Petrov."

Talking of the vulgarity of a certain burly acquaintance of ours: "The man is as corny as a cook-out chef apron." Kinbote (laughing): "Wonderful!"

The subject of teaching Shakespeare at college level having been introduced: "First of all, dismiss ideas, and social background, and train the freshman to shiver, to get drunk on the poetry of Hamlet or Lear, to read with his spine and not with his skull." Kinbote: "You appreciate particularly the purple passages?" Shade: "Yes, my dear Charles, I roll upon them as a grateful mongrel on a spot of turf fouled by a Great Dane." (note to Line 172)

 

In Chekhov's story Sobytie ("An Incident," 1886) Nero, Uncle Petrusha's big black Great Dane (whom Vanya and Nina want to be the father of the cat's newly-born kittens), calmly swallows his "children:"

 

Но в это время входит Степан и со смехом объявляет:

— Барыня, Нера котят съела!

Нина и Ваня бледнеют и с ужасом глядят на Степана.

— Ей-богу-с… — смеется лакей. — Подошла к ящику и сожрала.

Детям кажется, что все люди, сколько их есть в доме, всполошатся и набросятся на злодея Неро. Но люди сидят покойно на своих местах и только удивляются аппетиту громадной собаки. Папа и мама смеются… Неро ходит у стола, помахивает хвостом и самодовольно облизывается… Обеспокоена одна только кошка. Вытянув свой хвост, она ходит по комнатам, подозрительно поглядывает на людей и жалобно мяукает.

— Дети, уже десятый час! Пора спать! — кричит мама.

Ваня и Нина ложатся спать, плачут и долго думают об обиженной кошке и жестоком, наглом, ненаказанном Неро.

 

But just then Stepan came into the room and announced with a smile:

"Madame, Nero has eaten the kittens!"

Nina and Vanya paled and looked at Stepan in horror.

"Indeed he has!" chuckled the butler. "He has found the box and eaten every one!"

The children imagined that every soul in the house would spring up in alarm and fling themselves upon that wicked Nero. But instead of this they all sat quietly in their places and only seemed surprised at the appetite of the great dog. Papa and mamma laughed. Nero walked round the table wagging his tail and licking his chops with great self-satisfaction. Only the cat was uneasy. With her tail in the air she roamed through the house, looking suspiciously at every one and mewing pitifully.

"Children, it's ten o'clock! Go to bed!" cried mamma.

Vanya and Nina went to bed crying and lay for a long time thinking about the poor, abused kitty and that horrid, cruel, unpunished Nero.

 

It is Kronos (in ancient Greek religion, god of the harvest and member of the Titans) who eats his children (Kinbote became a vegetarian for life after reading a story about an Italian despot,  who was eaten piecemeal by the angry crowd; one is also reminded of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venus). Sobytie ("The Event," 1938) is a play by VN. The action in it takes place on the fiftieth birthday of Antonina Pavlovna Opayashin, the lady writer. The name and patronymic of Troshcheykin's mother-in-law hints at Chekhov. Troshcheykin's wife Lyubov is a namesake of Lyubov Dmitrievna Blok (the poet's wife). Her father, Dmitri Mendeleev (1834-1907), was a chemist who formulated the Periodic Law and created a version of the periodic table of the elements. S, K and G (Shade's, Kinbote's and Gradus's initials) seem to hint at Sulfur, Potassium, Gallium and Germanium (S, K, Ga and Ge, the elements in the periodic table). In his Index to PF Kinbote mentions Kobaltana, a place in Zembla where the crown jewels are hidden. Kobaltana makes one think of Cobalt (Co), another element in the periodic table. In his memoirs Byloe i dumy ("The Bygones and Meditations") Herzen calls Karl Marx and his followers die Schwefelbande. Schwefel is German for "sulphur." The Great Dane brings to mind Niels Bohr (1885-1962), a Danish physicist after whom Bohrium (a synthetic chemical element with the symbol Bh) was named. It should not be confused with Boron (a chemical element with the symbol B and atomic number 5). In Vino Veritas (The Banquet) is a work (1845) by Søren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher. There are three terrible dogs in H. C. Andersen's fairy tale The Tinder-Box.

 

In his Foreword to “Retribution” Blok mentions those infinitely high qualities that once shone like luchshie almazy v chelovecheskoy korone (the best diamonds in man’s crown), such as humanism, virtues, impeccable honesty, rectitude, etc.:

 

Тема заключается в том, как развиваются звенья единой цепи рода. Отдельные отпрыски всякого рода развиваются до положенного им предела и затем вновь поглощаются окружающей мировой средой; но в каждом отпрыске зреет и отлагается нечто новое и нечто более острое, ценою бесконечных потерь, личных трагедий, жизненных неудач, падений и т. д.; ценою, наконец, потери тех бесконечно высоких свойств, которые в своё время сияли, как лучшие алмазы в человеческой короне (как, например, свойства гуманные, добродетели, безупречная честность, высокая нравственность и проч.)

 

In Chapter Three of “Retribution” Blok mentions Flaubert’s strange inheritance – Education sentimentale:

 

И жаль отца, безмерно жаль:

Он тоже получил от детства

Флобера странное наследство -

Education sentimentale.

 

And he felt sorry for his father, immensely sorry:

He too had received from childhood

Flaubert’s strange inheritance –

Education sentimentale.

 

L'Éducation sentimentale (“Sentimental Education,” 1869) is a novel by Flaubert. Sybil Swallow (as Kinbote calls Shade's wife, born Irondell) brings to mind L'Hirondelle, the diligence that transports Emma Bovary every Thursday to her ‘piano lessons’ in Rouen, where “she discovers in adultery all the platitudes of marriage.” Btw., when Emma leaves Tostes (or Tôtes) for Yonville, she is pregnant:

 

Un jour qu'en prévision de son départ elle faisait des rangements dans un tiroir, elle se piqua les doigts à quelque chose. C'était un fil de fer de son bouquet de mariage. Les boutons d'oranger étaient jaunes de poussière, et les rubans de satin, à liséré d'argent, s'effiloquaient par le bord. Elle le jeta dans le feu. Il s'enflamma plus vite qu'une paille sèche. Puis ce fut comme un buisson rouge sur les cendres, et qui se rongeait lentement. Elle le regarda brûler. Les petites baies de carton éclataient, les fils d'archal se tordaient, le galon se fondait ; et les corolles de papier, racornies, se balançant le long de la plaque comme des papillons noirs, enfin s'envolèrent dans la cheminée.

Quand on partit de Tostes, au mois de mars, Mme Bovary était enceinte.

 

One day when, in view of her departure, she was tidying a drawer, something pricked her finger. It was a wire of her wedding bouquet. The orange blossoms were yellow with dust and the silver bordered satin ribbons frayed at the edges. She threw it into the fire. It flared up more quickly than dry straw. Then it was, like a red bush in the cinders, slowly devoured. She watched it burn. The little pasteboard berries burst, the wire twisted, the gold lace melted; and the shriveled paper corollas, fluttering like black butterflies at the back of the stove, at lest flew up the chimney.

When they left Tostes at the month of March, Madame Bovary was pregnant. (Part I, Chapter 9)


Shade's daughter was "a mere tot," when he and his wife Sybil moved from New Why to Yewshade.

 

In his diary (the entry of Aug. 30, 1918) Blok mentions dvoyniki (the dopplegangers) whom he conjured up in 1901 (when he courted Lyubov Mendeleev, his future wife), drugoe ya (alter ego) and Botkinskiy period (the Botkin period) of his life:

 

К ноябрю началось явное моё колдовство, ибо я вызвал двойников  ("Зарево белое...", "Ты - другая, немая...").

Любовь Дмитриевна ходила на уроки к М. М. Читау, я же ждал её выхода, следил за ней и иногда провожал её до Забалканского с Гагаринской - Литейной (конец ноября, начало декабря). Чаще, чем со мной, она встречалась с кем-то - кого не видела и о котором я знал.

Появился мороз, "мятель", "неотвязный" и царица, звенящая дверь, два старца, "отрава" (непосланных цветов), свершающий и пользующийся плодами свершений ("другое я"), кто-то "смеющийся и нежный". Так кончился 1901 год.

Тут - Боткинский период.

 

The "real" name of the poet Shade, his commentator Kinbote and his murderer Gradus seems to be Botkin. An American scholar of Russian descent, Professor Vsevolod Botkin went mad and became Shade, Kinbote and Gradus after the tragic death of his daughter Nadezhda (Hazel Shade’s “real” name). Nadezhda means “hope.” There is a hope that, when Kinbote completes his work on Shade’s poem and commits suicide (on Oct. 19, 1959, the anniversary of Pushkin’s Lyceum), Botkin, like Count Vorontsov ("half-milord, half-merchant, etc."), will be full again.

Hetényi_Zsuzsa

3 months 3 weeks ago

I would only to propose my old publications around this topic (2003, 2005):
Hetényi Zsuzsa

«Идеальная нагота» – Мотивы масонской инициации в рассказе Вл. Набокова «Посещение музея» (Масонские мотивы у Набокова. Часть 1.) (2003) 

Studia Slavica Academiae Scientiarum Hung. 3, pp. 105-121 

***
Лед, Лета, лужа: „мост через реку”. Масонский и дантовский код в романе Вл. Набокова „Защита Лужина”. (Масонские мотивы у Набокова. Часть 2). (2005)

In: Atanaszova-Szokolova D., Han A., Hollós A. (eds.) Sub rosa. Budapest: ELTE BTK ITDI, pp. 286-298.