Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0021996, Mon, 12 Sep 2011 15:26:12 +0300

The big full moon in the sky reminded me of the fact that the action in "The Event" takes place during the plenilune:

Трощейкин. Во-первых, у меня всегда сердцебиение, когда полнолуние. ("Troshcheykin. Firstly, I always have tachycardia during the plenilune." Act One)

Earlier Troshcheykin speaks of his method of painting and says that art always moves in the counter-sun direction:

Надо помнить, что искусство движется всегда против солнца.

The plenilune (btw., Plenilune is one of Vadim's books in LATH) mentioned by Troshcheykin and his solartistic metaphor brought to mind Trigorin's monologue in Chekhov's "The Seagull:"

"Violent obsessions sometimes lay hold of a man: he may, for instance, think day and night of nothing but the moon. I have such a moon. Day and night I am held in the grip of one besetting thought, to write, write, write! Hardly have I finished one book than something urges me to write another, and then a third, and then a fourth--I write ceaselessly. I am, as it were, on a treadmill. I hurry for ever from one story to another, and can't help myself. Do you see anything bright and beautiful in that? Oh, it is a wild life! Even now, thrilled as I am by talking to you, I do not forget for an instant that an unfinished story is awaiting me. My eye falls on that cloud there, which has the shape of a grand piano; I instantly make a mental note that I must remember to mention in my story a cloud floating by that looked like a grand piano. I smell heliotrope; I mutter to myself: a sickly smell, the colour worn by widows; I must remember that in writing my next description of a summer evening. I catch an idea in every sentence of yours or of my own, and hasten to lock all these treasures in my literary store-room, thinking that some day they may be useful to me. As soon as I stop working I rush off to the theatre or go fishing, in the hope that I may find oblivion there, but no! Some new subject for a story is sure to come rolling through my brain like an iron cannonball. I hear my desk calling, and have to go back to it and begin to write, write, write, once more. And so it goes for everlasting. I cannot escape myself, though I feel that I am consuming my life. To prepare the honey I feed to unknown crowds, I am doomed to brush the bloom from my dearest flowers, to tear them from their stems, and trample the roots that bore them under foot. Am I not a madman?" (Act Two) This monologue immediately follows Trigoron's comparison of Nina's fine words about fame, happiness and bright destinies to marmelad (fruit jellies) and Nina's reply that Trigorin's life is beautiful.

Incidentally, marmelad has no plural (Stephen's "marmelady" doesn't exist). Also, I wonder how many people among those who commented on my post on "The Event" have read/seen VN's play? I envy those who postponed it, because a lot of pleasure is in store for them.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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