Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0021986, Sat, 10 Sep 2011 14:44:18 +0300

Вера. Пойдём, дядя Поль, пойдём, мой хороший. Я дам тебе мармеладку. (Vera. Let's go, uncle Paul, let's go, my dear. I'll give you some fruit jellies. "The Event," Act Two)

Писатель. Я - антидульцинист: противник сладкого. А вот вина у вас нету? (The writer. I'm an antidulcinist: the person who hates sweets. And do you have some liquors? Ibid.)

Тригорин. Вы вот говорите об известности, о счатье, о какой-то светлой, интересной жизни, а для меня все эти хорошие слова, простите, всё равно что мармелад, которого я никогда не ем. (Trigorin. I hear you talking about fame, and happiness, and bright destinies, and those fine words of yours mean as much to me--forgive my saying so--as fruit jellies do, which I never eat. Chekhov, "The Seagull," Act Two)

In his essay "Anton Chekhov and A. S. Suvorin" (1914) Amfiteatrov speaks of marmeladnost' ("fruitjelliesness") incorrectly attributed to Chekhov by memoirists: Очень широкое добродушие А.П. Чехова и снисходительность его к людям, неверно понятые и окрашенные иными чувствительными мемуаристами, придали во многих воспоминаниях образу его какую-то напрасную и никогда не бывалую в нём мармеладность. In the same essay Amfiteatrov calls Chekhov антидостоевец ("an antidostoevskian;" btw., Bunin, who served as a model for the famous writer in "The Event," too, loathed Dostoevsky). Marmeladov is a character in Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment." Marmeladov is a drunkard, and the writer in "The Event" asks for liquors.
Btw., the dusty-trousered Marmlad kneeling and wringing his hands before his Marmlady is also mentioned in Ada (2.4).

As I pointed out in my article "Barboshin instead of Barbashin: Does an Event Happen in Nabokov's Play The Event?", the scene when Antonina Pavlovna reads aloud her latest fairy tale "The Resurrecting Swan" from the cycle "The Illumined Lakes" (Act Two) is a parody of the amateur performance in "The Seagull" ("All men and beasts, lions, eagles, and quails, horned stags, geese, spiders, silent fish that inhabit the waves, starfish from the sea, and creatures invisible to the eye --in one word, life--all, all life, completing the dreary round imposed upon it, has died out at last"). Pyotr Nikolaevich, the famous writer who listens, with other guests, to this fairy tale, is a namesake of Sorin (a character in "The Seagull," the owner of the lake-side manor who watches, with his guests, the amateur performance staged by Treplev and Nina Zarechnaya), Antonina Pavlovna (Lyubov's and Vera's mother) is a namesake of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Aleksei Maksimovich Troshcheykin (the main character in "The Event") is a namesake of Gorky (whose penname means "bitter"). Sorin is only one step from Sirin.

Aunt Zhenya (the sister of Antonina Pavlovna's late husband) and uncle Paul are the namesakes of Chekhov's parents: Eugenia Yakovlevna and Pavel Yegorovich.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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