Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0021861, Tue, 26 Jul 2011 14:56:37 +0300

Unlike Napoleon ("the new Adamastor"), Chateaubriand (who is so important in Ada) is not mentioned in "The Golden Calf." But there is Briand in Ilf & Petrov's novel:

Пикейные жилеты поднимали плечи. Они не отрицали, что Чемберлен тоже голова. Но больше всего утешал их Бриан.
- Бриан! - говорили они с жаром. - Вот это голова! Он со своим проектом пан-Европы...

The pique waistcoats shrugged their shoulders. They did not deny that Chamberlain had a head too. But it was Briand* who comforted them most.
"Briand!" they said ardently. "It's a head indeed! His project of pan-Europe..." (Chapter 14: "The First Rendezvous")

Голова being Russian for "head," the name Ван Вин (Van Veen), of Ada's protaganist and narrator, looks like "beheaded" Иван Головин (Ivan Golovin, the hero of Tolstoy's story "The Death of Ivan Ilyich").**

Chateaubriand = chateau + Briand

Бриан = барин (master)

Chateau is a character in VN's Pnin (1957). The historical I. P. Pnin*** (1773-1805), a poet and president of The Free Society of Lovers of Literature, Sciences and Arts, was an illegitimate son of Prince N. V. Repnin (1734-1801). Batyushkov is the author of an elegy "На смерть И. П. Пнина" ("On the Death of I. P. Pnin," 1805). Poor mad Batyushkov used to call Chateaubriand "Chateau brillant."

Incidentally, it was Batyushkov who first compared Russia to Falconet's equestrian statue of Peter I (Pushkin's Bronze Horseman known on Antiterra as Headless Horseman):

У нас перед глазами Фальконетово произведение, сей чудесный конь, живый, пламенный, статный и столь смело поставленный, что один иностранец, поражённый смелостью мысли, сказал мне, указывая на коня Фальконетова: - "Он скачет, как Россия!" ("A Walk to the Academy of Arts," 1814)

I notice that I misspelled Korea in my previous post. Btw., Korea and Koreans are mentioned in VN's story "Лебеда" (Orache, 1932).

*Aristide Briand (1862-1932), French statesman
**see also my article (available in Russian in Topos) "Van Veen or Ivan Golovin: What is the Real Name of Ada's Protagonist?" in which I mention two or three historical Golovins named Ivan

Alexey Sklyarenko

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