Hurricane Lolita & Colonel Montacute in Pale Fire

Submitted by Alexey Sklyarenko on Sun, 02/03/2019 - 08:31

In Canto Three of his poem Shade (the poet in VN’s novel Pale Fire, 1962) mentions Hurricane Lolita that swept from Florida to Maine:


It was a year of Tempests: Hurricane
Lolita swept from Florida to Maine.
Mars glowed. Shahs married. Gloomy Russians spied.
Lang made your portrait. And one night I died.
(ll. 679-82)


According to Kinbote (Shade’s mad commentator who imagines that he is Charles the Beloved, the last self-exiled king of Zembla), Shade’s heart attack almost coincided with the disguised king's arrival in America:


John Shade's heart attack (Oct. 17, 1958) practically coincided with the disguised king's arrival in America where he descended by parachute from a chartered plane piloted by Colonel Montacute, in a field of hay-feverish, rank-flowering weeds, near Baltimore whose oriole is not an oriole. (note to Line 691)


The Colonel’s name seems to hint at Montague, Romeo’s family name in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Describing his visit to the Elphinstone hospital, Humbert Humbert (the narrator and main character in VN’s novel Lolita, 1955) mentions roly-poly Romeo:


Poor Bluebeard. Those brutal brothers. Est-ce que tu ne m’aimes plus, ma Carmen? She never had. At the moment I knew my love was as hopeless as ever – and I also knew the two girls were conspirators, plotting in Basque, or Zemfirian, against my hopeless love. I shall go further and say that Lo was playing a double game since she was also fooling sentimental Mary whom she had told, I suppose, that she wanted to dwell with her fun-loving young uncle and not with cruel melancholy me. And another nurse whom I never identified, and the village idiot who carted cots and coffins into the elevator, and the idiotic green love birds in a cage in the waiting room – all were in the plot, the sordid plot. I suppose Mary thought comedy father Professor Humbertoldi was interfering with the romance between Dolores and her father-substitute, roly-poly Romeo (for you were rather lardy, you know, Rom, despite all that "snow" and "joy juice"). (2.22)


In VN’s novel Ada (1969) Van Veen (the narrator and main character) calls the late Dr Krolik (Ada’s beloved teacher of natural history whose grave Van refuses to visit) “a roly-poly old Pole:”


Tiffs between them had been very rare, very brief, but there had been enough of them to make up the enduring mosaic. There was the time she stood with her back against a tree trunk, facing a traitor’s doom; the time he had refused to show her some silly Chose snapshots of punt girls and had torn them up in fury and she had looked away knitting her brows and slitting her eyes at an invisible view in the window. Or that time she had hesitated, blinking, shaping a soundless word, suspecting him of a sudden revolt against her odd prudishness of speech, when he challenged her brusquely to find a rhyme to ‘patio’ and she was not quite sure if he had in mind a certain foul word and if so what was its correct pronunciation. And perhaps, worst of all, that time when she stood fiddling with a bunch of wild flowers, a gentle half-smile hanging back quite neutrally in her eyes, her lips pursed, her head making imprecise little movements as if punctuating with self-directed nods secret decisions and silent clauses in some sort of contract with herself, with him, with unknown parties hereinafter called Comfortless, Inutile, Unjust — while he indulged in a brutal outburst triggered by her suggesting — quite sweetly and casually (as she might suggest walking a little way on the edge of a bog to see if a certain orchid was out) — that they visit the late Krolik’s grave in a churchyard by which they were passing — and he had suddenly started to shout (‘You know I abhor churchyards, I despise, I denounce death, dead bodies are burlesque, I refuse to stare at a stone under which a roly-poly old Pole is rotting, let him feed his maggots in peace, the entomologies of death leave me cold, I detest, I despise —’); he went on ranting that way for a couple of minutes and then literally fell at her feet, kissing her feet, imploring her pardon, and for a little while longer she kept gazing at him pensively. (1.41)


“A roly-poly old Pole” hints at Polonius, Ophelia’s father in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In his poem Ya – Gamlet. Kholodeet krov’… (“I’m Hamlet. Freezes blood…” 1914) Alexander Blok compares himself to Hamlet and his wife Lyubov’ (the daughter of Dmitri Mendeleev, a chemist who formulated the Periodic Law), to Ophelia:


Я – Гамлет. Холодеет кровь,
Когда плетёт коварство сети,
И в сердце – первая любовь
Жива – к единственной на свете.


Тебя, Офелию мою,
Увел далёко жизни холод,
И гибну, принц, в родном краю
Клинком отравленным заколот.


In his poem Neznakomka (“Incognita,” 1906) Blok mentions p’yanitsy s glazami krolikov (the drunks with the eyes of rabbits) who cry out “In vino veritas! In poem’s last stanza Blok says that a treasure lies in his soul and the key belongs to him alone:


В моей душе лежит сокровище,

И ключ поручен только мне!

Ты право, пьяное чудовище!

Я знаю: истина в вине.


A treasure lies in my soul,

And the key belongs to me alone!

You are right, the drunken beast!

I know: in wine is truth.


A treasure in the poet’s soul brings to mind R. L. Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island (1882). According to Humbert Humbert, in Beardsley Lolita used this book as one of her hiding places:


Once I found eight one-dollar notes in one of her books (fittingly – Treasure Island), and once a hole in the wall behind Whistler’s ‘Mother’ yielded as much as twenty-four dollars and some change – say, twenty-four sixty – which I quietly removed, upon which, next day, she accused, to my face, honest Mrs. Holigan of being a filthy thief. Eventually, she lived up to her I.Q. by finding a safer hoarding place which I never discovered; but by that time I had brought prices down drastically by having her earn the hard and nauseous way permission to participate in the school’s theatrical program; because what I feared most was not that she might ruin me, but that she might accumulate sufficient cash to run away. I believe the poor fierce-eyed child had figured out that with a mere fifty dollars in her purse she might somehow reach Broadway or Hollywood – or the foul kitchen of a diner (Help Wanted) in a dismal ex-prairie state, with the wind blowing, and the stars blinking, and the cars, and the bars, and the barmen, and everything soiled, torn, dead. (2.7)


In a pastiche of the Goncourt Journal in Le temps retrouvé (“Time Regained”), the seventh and last volume of Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (“In Search of Lost Time”), Whistler (the author of Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1, also known as Whistler’s Mother, 1871) and Stevenson are mentioned:


«Avant-hier tombe ici, pour m’emmener dîner chez lui, Verdurin, l’ancien critique de la Revue, l’auteur de ce livre sur Whistler où vraiment le faire, le coloriage artiste de l’original Américain est souvent rendu avec une grande délicatesse par l’amoureux de tous les raffinements, de toutes les joliesses de la chose peinte qu’est Verdurin.»


“The day before yesterday, who should drop in here, to take me to dinner with him but Verdurin, the former critic of the Revue, author of that book on Whistler in which truly the doings, the artistic atmosphere of that highly original American are often rendered with great delicacy by that lover of all the refinements, of all the prettinesses of the thing painted which Verdurin is.”


«Et la suggestive dissertation passa, sur un signe gracieux de la maîtresse de maison, de la salle à manger au fumoir vénitien dans lequel Cottard me dit avoir assisté à de véritables dédoublements de la personnalité, nous citant le cas d’un de ses malades, qu’il s’offre aimablement à m’amener chez moi et à qui il suffisait qu’il touchât les tempes pour l’éveiller à une seconde vie, vie pendant laquelle il ne se rappelait rien de la première, si bien que, très honnête homme dans celle-là, il y aurait été plusieurs fois arrêté pour des vols commis dans l’autre où il serait tout simplement un abominable gredin. Sur quoi Mme Verdurin remarque finement que la médecine pourrait fournir des sujets plus vrais à un théâtre où la cocasserie de l’imbroglio reposerait sur des méprises pathologiques, ce qui, de fil en aiguille, amène Mme Cottard à narrer qu’une donnée toute semblable a été mise en œuvre par un amateur qui est le favori des soirées de ses enfants, l’Écossais Stevenson, un nom qui met dans la bouche de Swann cette affirmation péremptoire : « Mais c’est tout à fait un grand écrivain, Stevenson, je vous assure, M. de Goncourt, un très grand, l’égal des plus grands.»


“This suggestive dissertation continued, on a gracious sign from the mistress of the house, from the dining-room into the Venetian smoking-room where Cottard told me he had witnessed actual duplications of personality, giving as example the case of one of his patients whom he amiably offers to bring to see me, in whose case Cottard has merely to touch his temples to usher him into a second life, a life in which he remembers nothing of the other, so much so that, a very honest man in this one, he had actually been arrested several times for thefts committed in the other during which he had been nothing less than a disgraceful scamp. Upon which Mme Verdurin acutely remarks that medicine could furnish subjects truer than a theatre where the humour of an imbroglio is founded upon pathological mistakes, which from thread to needle brought Mme Cottard to relate that a similar notion had been made use of by an amateur who is the prime favourite at her children’s evening parties, the Scotchman Stevenson, a name which forced from Swann the peremptory affirmation: ‘But Stevenson is a great writer, I can assure you, M. de Goncourt, a very great one, equal to the greatest.’”


Mme Cottard has in mind Stevenson’s novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886). A well respected, middle aged doctor whose hobby is chemistry (carried out in a laboratory at the back of his house), Dr. Jekyll discovers a chemical combination that releases an alternative personality, his baser side: “Mr. Hyde.” Humbert Humbert’s landlord, Professor Chem, teaches chemistry at Beardsley College:


I really did not mind where to dwell provided I could lock my Lolita up somewhere; but I had, I suppose, in the course of my correspondence with vague Gaston, vaguely visualized a house of ivied brick. Actually the place bore a dejected resemblance to the Haze home (a mere 400 miles distant): it was the same sort of dull gray frame affair with a shingled roof and dull green drill awnings; and the rooms, though smaller and furnished in a more consistent plush-and-plate style, were arranged in much the same order. My study turned out to be, however, a much larger room, lined from floor to ceiling with some two thousand books on chemistry which my landlord (on sabbatical leave for the time being) taught at Beardsley College. (2.4)


Describing his quarrel with Lolita, Humbert Humbert compares himself to Mr. Hyde:


With people in movies I seem to share the services of the machina telephonica and its sudden god. This time it was an irate neighbor. The east window happened to be agape in the living room, with the blind mercifully down, however; and behind it the damp black night of a sour New England spring had been breathlessly listening to us. I had always thought that type of haddocky spinster with the obscene mind was the result of considerable literary inbreeding in modern fiction; but now I am convinced that prude and prurient Miss East – or to explode her incognito, Miss Finton Lebone – had been probably protruding three-quarter-way from her bedroom window as she strove to catch the gist of our quarrel.

“…This racket… lacks all sense of…” quacked the receiver, “we do not live in a tenement here. I must emphatically…”

I apologized for my daughter’s friends being so loud. Young people, you know - and cradled the next quack and a half.

Downstairs the screen door banged. Lo? Escaped?

Through the casement on the stairs I saw a small impetuous ghost slip through the shrubs; a silvery dot in the dark - hub of bicycle wheel - moved, shivered, and she was gone.

It so happened that the car was spending the night in a repair shop downtown. I had no other alternative than to pursue on foot the winged fugitive. Even now, after more than three years have heaved and elapsed, I cannot visualize that spring-night street, that already so leafy street, without a gasp of panic. Before their lighted porch Miss Lester was promenading Miss Fabian's dropsical dackel. Mr. Hyde almost knocked it over. Walk three steps and run three. A tepid rain started to drum on the chestnut leaves. At the next corner, pressing Lolita against an iron railing, a blurred youth held and kissed - no, not her, mistake. My talons still tingling, I flew on. (2.14)


Miss Lester and Miss Fabian are a lesbian couple. In À la recherche du temps perdu Marcel (the narrator and main character) suspects Albertine of being a lesbian. When he visits Ada at Brownhill (Ada’s school for girls), Van (who suspects Cordula of being Ada’s lesbian partner) mentions the Marcel and Albertine affair and Ada does not want Van to see her in the role of a moribund Romeo:


They talked about their studies and teachers, and Van said:

‘I would like your opinion, Ada, and yours, Cordula, on the following literary problem. Our professor of French literature maintains that there is a grave philosophical, and hence artistic, flaw in the entire treatment of the Marcel and Albertine affair. It makes sense if the reader knows that the narrator is a pansy, and that the good fat cheeks of Albertine are the good fat buttocks of Albert. It makes none if the reader cannot be supposed, and should not be required, to know anything about this or any other author’s sexual habits in order to enjoy to the last drop a work of art. My teacher contends that if the reader knows nothing about Proust’s perversion, the detailed description of a heterosexual male jealously watchful of a homosexual female is preposterous because a normal man would be only amused, tickled pink in fact, by his girl’s frolics with a female partner. The professor concludes that a novel which can be appreciated only by quelque petite blanchisseuse who has examined the author’s dirty linen is, artistically, a failure.’

‘Ada, what on earth is he talking about? Some Italian film he has seen?’

‘Van,’ said Ada in a tired voice, ‘you do not realize that the Advanced French Group at my school has advanced no farther than to Racan and Racine.’

‘Forget it,’ said Van.

‘But you’ve had too much Marcel,’ muttered Ada.

The railway station had a semi-private tearoom supervised by the stationmaster’s wife under the school’s idiotic auspices. It was empty, save for a slender lady in black velvet, wearing a beautiful black velvet picture hat, who sat with her back to them at a ‘tonic bar’ and never once turned her head, but the thought brushed him that she was a cocotte from Toulouse. Our damp trio found a nice corner table and with sighs of banal relief undid their raincoats. He hoped Ada would discard her heavy-seas hat but she did not, because she had cut her hair because of dreadful migraines, because she did not want him to see her in the role of a moribund Romeo.

(On fait son grand Joyce after doing one’s petit Proust. In Ada’s lovely hand.)

(But read on; it is pure V.V. Note that lady! In Van’s bed-buvard scrawl.) (1.27)


The penultimate, sixth, volume of Proust’s novel is entitled Albertine disparue. According to Humbert Humbert, one of the parts of his book might be called “Dolorés Disparue:”


This book is about Lolita; and now that I have reached the part which (had I not been forestalled by another internal combustion martyr) might be called “Dolorés Disparue,” there would be little sense in analyzing the three empty years that followed. While a few pertinent points have to be marked, the general impression I desire to convey is of a side door crashing open in life’s full flight, and a rush of roaring black time drowning with its whipping wind the cry of lone disaster. (2.25)


“The cry of lone disaster” brings to mind the L disaster (that led to the ban of electricity on Demonia, aka Antiterra, Earth’s twin planet on which Ada is set) in Ada:


The details of the L disaster (and I do not mean Elevated) in the beau milieu of last century, which had the singular effect of both causing and cursing the notion of ‘Terra,’ are too well-known historically, and too obscene spiritually, to be treated at length in a book addressed to young laymen and lemans — and not to grave men or gravemen. (1.3)


The Antiterran L disaster in the middle of the 19th century seems to correspond to the mock execution of Dostoevski and the Petrashevskians on Jan. 3, 1850 (NS), in our world. In a letter of Sept. 14, 1849, to his brother Dostoevski (who was imprisoned in the Peter-and-Paul Fortress) thanks his brother Mikhail for sending him Shakespeare (in Ketcher’s Russian translation), Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre and Turgenev’s comedy Kholostyak (“The Bachelor”):


Перечитывал присланные тобою книги. Особенно благодарю за Шекспира. Как это ты догадался! В "Отечественных записк<ах>" английский роман чрезвычайно хорош. Но комедия Тургенева непозволительно плоха.


Charlotte is the name of Lolita’s mother. In his Eugene Onegin Commentary (vol. III, p. 156) VN points out that Zemfira’s song in Pushkin’s poem Tsygany (“The Gypsies,” 1824; cf. “plotting in Basque, or Zemfirian” in Lolita) was used by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy in their libretto of George Bizet’s opera Carmen (1875) based on Mérimée’s novella of that name (1847) and that Ivan Turgenev translated this nomadic song from The Gypsies for Edmond de Goncourt, who gives it as a “chanson du pays” to the gypsy woman Stepanida Roudak (also supplied by his Russian friend) in his mediocre Les Frères Zemganno (1879).


In his autobiography Speak, Memory (1951) VN mentions Nova Zembla and the writer Dostoevski, author of The Double, etc., to whom General Ivan Nabokov (commander of the Peter-and-Paul Fortress, brother of VN’s great-grandfather) lent books:

My great-great-grandfather, General Aleksandr Ivanovich Nabokov (1749–1807), was, in the reign of Paul the First, chief of the Novgorod garrison regiment called “Nabokov’s Regiment” in official documents. The youngest of his sons, my great-grandfather Nikolay Aleksandrovich Nabokov, was a young naval officer in 1817, when he participated, with the future admirals Baron von Wrangel and Count Litke, under the leadership of Captain (later Vice-Admiral) Vasiliy Mihaylovich Golovnin, in an expedition to map Nova Zembla (of all places) where “Nabokov’s River” is named after my ancestor. The memory of the leader of the expedition is preserved in quite a number of place names, one of them being Golovnin’s Lagoon, Seward Peninsula, W. Alaska, from where a butterfly, Parnassius phoebus golovinus (rating a big sic), has been described by Dr. Holland; but my great-grandfather has nothing to show except that very blue, almost indigo blue, even indignantly blue, little river winding between wet rocks; for he soon left the navy, n’ayant pas le pied marin (as says my cousin Sergey Sergeevich who informed me about him), and switched to the Moscow Guards. He married Anna Aleksandrovna Nazimov (sister of the Decembrist). I know nothing about his military career; whatever it was, he could not have competed with his brother, Ivan Aleksandrovich Nabokov (1787–1852), one of the heroes of the anti-Napoleon wars and, in his old age, commander of the Peter-and-Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg where (in 1849) one of his prisoners was the writer Dostoevski, author of The Double, etc., to whom the kind general lent books. Considerably more interesting, however, is the fact that he was married to Ekaterina Pushchin, sister of Ivan Pushchin, Pushkin’s schoolmate and close friend. Careful, printers: two “chin” ’s and one “kin.” (Chapter Three, 1)


Dvoynik (“The Double,” 1909) is also a poem by Blok. According to G. Ivanov, to his question “does a sonnet need a coda” Blok replied that he did not know what a coda is. Kinbote believes that, to be completed, Shade’s almost finished poem needs but one line (Line 1000, identical to Line 1: “I was the shadow of the waxwing slain”). But it seems that, like some sonnets, Shade’s poem also needs a coda (Line 1001: “By its own double in the windowpane”). At the end of his essay Zametki perevodchika II (“Translator’s Notes. Part Two,” 1957) VN mentions tysyacha i odno primechanie (a thousand and one notes):

Так скажут историк и словесник; но что может сказать бедный переводчик?
«Симилар ту э уингед лили, балансинг энтерс Лалла Рух»? Всё потеряно, всё сорвано, все цветы и серёжки лежат в лужах — и я бы никогда не пустился в этот тусклый путь, если бы не был уверен, что внимательному чужеземцу всю солнечную сторону текста можно подробно объяснить в тысяче и одном примечании.

According to VN, he would have never attempted to translate Eugene Onegin into English, had he not been sure that to the attentive foreigner the entire sunny side of the text can be in detail explained in a thousand and one notes.


In his poem “On Translating Eugene Onegin” (1955) VN says that the parasites on whom Pushkin was so hard are pardoned, if he has Pushkin’s pardon for his stratagem. According to Kinbote (note to l. 247), Sybil Shade (the poet’s wife whom Kinbote pardons) called him “a parasite of genius.” In a conversation at the Faculty Club Kinbote tells Professor Pardon (American History) that he is confusing him with some refugee from Nova Zembla:


Professor Pardon now spoke to me: "I was under the impression that you were born in Russia, and that your name was a kind of anagram of Botkin or Botkine?"
Kinbote: "You are confusing me with some refugee from Nova Zembla” [sarcastically stressing the "Nova"]. (note to Line 894)


Shade’s, Kinbote’s and Gradus’ “real” name 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 of Kinbote’s Commentary). In Romeo and Juliet Mercutio mentions Benvolio’s hazel eyes:

Thou wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts, having no other reason but because thou hast hazel eyes. (Act III, scene 1)


In a letter of May 21, 1830, to Pushkin Pletnyov (to whom EO is dedicated) mentions Mercutio and Benvolio (the unceremonious friends):


Хотелось бы мне, чтоб ты ввернул в трактат о Шекспире любимые мои две идеи: 1) Спрашивается, зачем перед публикой позволять действующим лицам говорить непристойности? Отвечается: эти лица и не подозревают о публике; они решительно одни, как любовник с любовницей, как муж с женой, как Меркутио с Бенволио (нецеремонные друзья). Пракситель, обделывая формы статуи, заботится об истине всех частей её (вот его коран!), а не о тех, кто будет прогуливаться мимо выставленной его статуи. 2) Для чего в одном произведении помещать прозу, полустихи (т. е. стихи без рифм) и настоящие стихи (по понятию простонародному)? Потому, что в трагедии есть лица, над которыми все мы смеялись бы, если бы кто вздумал подозревать, что они способны к поэтическому чувству; а из круга людей, достойных поэзии, иные бывают на степени поэзии драматической, иные же, а иногда и те же, на степени поэзии лирической: там дипломатическая музыка, а здесь военная.


In the same letter Pletnyov tells Pushkin about the birth of his daughter:

Не дивись, милый, что аккуратный человек так неаккуратно тебе отвечает: у меня на неделе столкнулись разные хлопоты. Теперь, слава богу, всё пришло, кажется, в свою колею. Родилась у меня дочь, которая теперь стала у нас известна под именем Ольги. Её привели сегодня в христианскую веру. Пройдет ещё денька два — и надеюсь, жена подымется на ноги: тогда опять я сделаюсь твоим аккуратнейшим корреспондентом. К делу!


At the end of his poem Eyo glaza (“Her Eyes,” 1828) Pushkin says that, when Annette Olenine (whose name was anagrammatized on the margins of Pushkin’s manuscripts) raises her eyes, “Raphael’s angel thus contemplates divinity:


Она мила — скажу меж нами —
Придворных витязей гроза,
И можно с южными звездами
Сравнить, особенно стихами,
Её черкесские глаза,
Она владеет ими смело,
Они горят огня живей;
Но, сам признайся, то ли дело
Глаза Олениной моей!
Какой задумчивый в них гений,
И сколько детской простоты,
И сколько томных выражений,
И сколько неги и мечты!..
Потупит их с улыбкой Леля —
В них скромных граций торжество;
Поднимет — ангел Рафаэля
Так созерцает божество.

According to John Ray, Jr. (the author of the Foreword to Humbert Humbert's manuscript), Mrs. "Richard F. Schiller" (Lolita’s married name) died in childbed, giving birth to a stillborn girl, on Christmas Day 1952, in Gray Star, a settlement in the remotest Northwest. At the end of Lolita Humbert Humbert mentions prophetic sonnets:


Thus, neither of us is alive when the reader opens this book. But while the blood still throbs through my writing hand, you are still as much part of
blessed matter as I am, and I can still talk to you from here to Alaska. Be true to your Dick. Do not let other fellows touch you. Do not talk to strangers. I hope you will love your baby. I hope it will be a boy. That husband of yours, I hope, will always treat you well, because otherwise my specter shall come at him, like black smoke, like a demented giant, and pull him apart nerve by nerve. And do not pity C.Q. One had to choose between him and H.H., and one wanted H.H. to exist at least a couple of months longer, so as to have him make you live in the minds of later generations. I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita. (2.36)


Lolita outlives Humbert Humbert (who died in legal captivity, of coronary thrombosis, on November 16, 1952, a few days before his trial was scheduled to start) only by forty days. In his poem In his poem O net! ne raskolduesh' serdtsa ty ("Oh no! You cannot disenchant my heart…” 1912) Blok mentions his shade that will appear on the ninth and fortieth day after his death:

И тень моя пройдёт перед тобою

В девятый день, и в день сороковой -
Неузнанной, красивой, неживою.
Такой ведь ты искала? - Да, такой.

And suddenly you'll see my shade appear
Before you on the ninth and fortieth day:
Unrecognized, uncomely, plain and drear,
The kind of shade you looked for, by the way!


In the Russian version (1967) of Lolita the name of Clare Quilty's co-author, Vivian Darkbloom, becomes Vivian Damor-Blok and the title of her book on CQ, "My Cue," Kumir moy ("My Idol"):

Г-жа Вивиан Дамор-Блок (Дамор - по сцене, Блок - по одному из первых мужей) написала биографию бывшего товарища под каламбурным заглавием "Кумир мой", которая скоро должна выйти в свет; критики, уже ознакомившиеся с
манускриптом, говорят, что это лучшая её вещь.


In his diary (the entry of Dec. 12, 1920) Alexander Blok lists all thirty-seven plays of Shakespeare:


1591 или около: «Тит Андроник». «Король Генрих VI» (I часть). «Два веронца». «Комедия ошибок».

1592 — «Король Генрих VI» (II часть). «Бесплодные усилия любви». «Ромео и Джульетта». «Король-Генрих VI» (III часть).

1594 — «Усмирение строптивой». «Король Ричард III».

1595 — «Венецианский купец». «Сон в Иванову ночь».

1596 — «Король Джон». «Король Ричард II».

1597 — «Король Генрих IV» (I часть).

1598 или около — «Конец делу венец». «Король Генрих IV» (II часть).

1599 — «Много шуму из ничего». «Король Генрих V».

1600 — «Виндзорские кумушки».

1601 — «Двенадцатая ночь». «Как вам это нравится».

1602 — «Гамлет».

1603 — «Юлий Цезарь». «Мера за меру».

1604 — «Отелло».

1604–1605 — «Король Лир».

1606 — «Макбет».

1607 — «Тимон Афинский».

1608 — «Антоний и Клеопатра». «Перикл».

1609 — «Троил и Крессида». «Кориолан».

1610 — «Зимняя сказка». 1610–1611 — «Цимбелин».

1611 — «Буря».

1613 — «Король Генрих VIII».

Первый период: 1590–1594 — Подражательность и очарование жизнью (?).

Второй период: 1594–1601 — Беззаботность. «Фальстафовский».

Третий период: 1601–1609 — «Душевный мрак» (?). «Гамлетовский».

Четвертый период: 1609–1616 — Примиренность (!).


Shade borrowed the title of his last poem from Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens (1607). “A year of Tempests” in Canto Three of Shade’s poem brings to mind Tempest (1611), Shakespeare’s penultimate play. It seems that Lolita's death in Gray Star was predicted by Shakespeare in his Sonnet 14:


Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck,
And yet methinks I have astronomy,
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality;


Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well
By oft predict that I in heaven find:


But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive
If from thy self to store thou wouldst convert:


Or else of thee this I prognosticate,
Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.


I also recommend you the updated version of my previous post, "two methods of composing & Fra Karamazov in Pale Fire; kurva & Ambidextrous Universe in Ada."