Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0027338, Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:49:20 +0300

Ardis+Van+Ada anagram
Parnok/Prokna + syn/sny + Ardis/Sidra + Van + Ada = Parnas + rynok/nyrok +
Vanadis + ad/da = Paris + rysak/krysa + Vanda + donna = nirvana + dyra + sok
+ Pan/nap + sad

Parnok - Sofia Parnok (1885-1933), a minor poet (“Russian Sappho”),
Podruga (Girlfriend) of Marina Tsvetaev (a poet of genius, 1892-1941)

Prokna - Procne (in ancient Greek mythology, Philomela’s sister who was
transformed into a swallow); in Pale Fire (1962) Sybil Shade’s “real”
name seems to by Sofia Botkin, born Lastochkin (lastochka is Russian for

syn - son; Demon Veen (Van’s and Ada’s father) calls Van (who just
returned from Ardis where he had spent the summer) synok moy (“my son,”
Ada, 1.27)

sny - dreams (pl. of son, “sleep, dream”)

Ardis - the country estate of Daniel Veen (Lucette’s father, Van and Ada’s
uncle); according to Mlle Larivière (Lucette’s governess), in Greek ardis
means “the point of an arrow” (1.36)

Sidra - Gulf of Sidra (in the Mediterranean Sea on the northern coast of
Libya); Professor Ivan Veen is the author of Reflections in Sidra (1905),
“a grand piece” (according to Ada, 3.7)

Van - Van Veen (the narrator and main character in Ada)

Ada - Ada Veen (Van’s sister and mistress in Ada)

Parnas - Russian name of Parnassus (a mountain in Greece, home of the
Muses); cf. Guillaume de Monparnasse, Mlle Larivière’s penname; according
to Mlle Larivière, the leaving out of the ‘t’ made it more intime (1.31);
Parnas (1808) is a fable by Krylov; in his mock epic in octaves, Domik v
Kolomne (“The Small Cottage in Kolomna,” 1830), Pushkin says that in our
times Parnassus got badly overgrown with nettles and the poets transferred
their camp to tolkuchiy rynok (a second-hand goods market):

Скажу, рысак! Парнасский иноходец
Его не обогнал бы. Но Пегас
Стар, зуб уж нет. Им вырытый колодец
Иссох. Порос крапивою Парнас;
В отставке Феб живёт, а хороводец
Старушек муз уж не прельщает нас.
И табор свой с классических вершинок
Перенесли мы на толкучий рынок. (VIII)

rynok - market, market-place

nyrok - dive; orn., pochard; in VN’s translation of Lewis Carroll’s
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland the first chapter (“Down the
Rabbit-Hole”) is entitled Nyrok v krolich’yu norku

Vanadis \xa8C one of the names of Freya (the Scandinavian Venus)

ad - hell

da - yes

Paris (also known as Lute on Antiterra, aka Demonia, Earth’s twin planet on
which Ada is set) - the capital of France; a character in Homer’s Iliad,
son of Priam (king of Troy) and Hecuba (queen of Troy) who eloped with Helen
(queen of Sparta)

rysak - trotter; cf. Skazhu, rysak! (“I say, a trotter!”), the exclamation
with which the above-quoted stanza (its last word is rynok) of Pushkin’s
Domik v Kolomne begins; according to Pushkin, Pegasus (“the Parnassian
ambler”) is old, has lost its teeth and would not overtake that trotter

krysa - rat

Vanda - Vanda Broom, Ada’s lesbian schoolmate at Brownhill; her name is
secretly present in Ada’s poem that she wrote down under her prim photo in
the graduation album:

In the old manor, I've parodied

Every veranda and room,

And jacarandas at Arrowhead

In supernatural bloom. (1.43)

According to Ada, Vanda was shot dead by the girlfriend of a girlfriend:

Would she like to stay in this apartment till Spring Term (he thought in
terms of Terms now) and then accompany him to Kingston, or would she prefer
to go abroad for a couple of months ― anywhere, Patagonia, Angola, Gululu
in the New Zealand mountains? Stay in this apartment? So, she liked it?
Except some of Cordula’s stuff which should be ejected ― as, for example,
that conspicuous Brown Hill Alma Mater of Almehs left open on poor Vanda’s
portrait. She had been shot dead by the girlfriend of a girlfriend on a
starry night, in Ragusa of all places. It was, Van said, sad. (2.6)

donna - Madam, Lady: Italian title of respect prefixed to the given name of
a woman; cf. Belladonna, a movie magazine that published Ada’s and Marina’
s photograph:

Van had seen the picture [the Hollywood version of Four Sisters, as
Chekhov's play "The Three Sisters," 1901, is known on Antiterra] and had
liked it. An Irish girl, the infinitely graceful and melancholy Lenore
Colline -

Oh! qui me rendra ma colline

Et le grand chêne and my colleen!

- harrowingly resembled Ada Ardis as photographed with her mother in
Belladonna, a movie magazine which Greg Erminin had sent him, thinking it
would delight him to see aunt and cousin, together, on a California patio
just before the film was released. (2.9)

'Your father,' added Lucette, 'paid a man from Belladonna to take pictures -
but of course, real fame begins only when one's name appears in that
cine-magazine's crossword puzzle. We all know it will never happen, never!
Do you hate me now?'

'I don't,' he said, passing his hand over her sun-hot back and rubbing her
coccyx to make pussy purr. 'Alas, I don't! I love you with a brother's love
and maybe still more tenderly. Would you like me to order drinks?' (3.5)

Van quotes Onegin's words to Tatiana in Pushkin's Eugene Onegin (Four: XVI:

nirvana - place or state characterized by freedom from or oblivion to pain,
worry and the external world; Ada’s last chapter begins with “nirvana:”

Nirvana, Nevada, Vaniada. By the way, should I not add, my Ada, that only at
the very last interview with poor dummy-mummy, soon after my premature - I
mean, premonitory - nightmare about, 'You can, Sir,' she employed mon petit
nom, Vanya, Vanyusha - never had before, and it sounded so odd, so tend...
(voice trailing off, radiators tinkling).

'Dummy-mum' - (laughing). 'Angels, too, have brooms - to sweep one's soul
clear of horrible images. My black nurse was Swiss-laced with white
whimsies.' (5.6)

dyra - hole

sok - juice; sap

Pan - ancient Greek god of forests, pastures, flocks, and shepherds; cf.
Alexis Pan, the futurist poet in The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (1941);
in Manhattan (aka Man on Antiterra) Van lives on Alexis Avenue

sad - garden; cf. Letnyi Sad (Le Jardin d’Eté), a public park in St.
Petersburg to which Onegin’s tutor took the boy for walks (EO, One: III:

Alexey Sklyarenko

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