NABOKV-L post 0020025, Wed, 12 May 2010 16:01:37 -0700

Soviet provincialism?
On May 12, 2010, at 12:27 PM, Alexey Sklyarenko wrote: I was misled
by the mention of the Mediterranian resorts in one of the fragments
and therefore failed to recognize Pasternak. Like all Soviet
literature, "Doctor Zhivago" has something provincial about it.
Anyway, Bunin deserved the Nobel prize much more than Pasternak or
Sholokhov did, not to speak of Nabokov (who never received it).

Dear Alexey,

Do you mean "something provincial" as a criticism? Do you include
Bely? I would say there is something provincial in Chekhov, wouldn't
you? Perhaps you meant another word, which I can not guess?


As I pointed out earlier, Ada's Tobak reminds one of Fima Sobak, a
character in Ilf and Petrov's "The Twelve Chairs". Sobak = skoba
(cramp-iron; in one of his poems Mandelshtam compares letters of
Armenian alphabet to cramp-irons). There is Koba (Stalin's nickname,
after the hero of Kazbeghi's novel "The Patricide") in skoba.

Alexey Sklyarenko
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