NABOKV-L post 0026360, Sun, 16 Aug 2015 02:11:34 +0300

Onhava in PF; Padukgrad in BS
While Zembla, a distant northern land in Pale Fire (1962), hints at zemlya
(Russ., earth; land), Onhava, Zembla's beautiful capital, seems to hint at
"heaven." Onhava-onhava means in Zemblan "far, far away:"

Gradus admitted an unexpected visitor-one of the greater Shadows, whom he
had thought to be onhava-onhava ("far, far away"), in a wild, misty, almost
legendary Zembla! (Kinbote's note to Line 741)

Zemblan language resembles the one spoken in Padukgrad, the capital of a
fictitious European country in VN's novel Bend Sinister (1947). The main
character of BS is the philosopher Adam Krug. Krug is Russian for "circle."
There is Krug in krugovrashchayas' (rotating in a circular way), the word
used by Tyutchev in his translation of Theseus' monologue in A
Midsummer-Night's Dream (5.1) in which heaven and Earth (zemlya) are

The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,

Doth glance from heaven to Earth, from Earth to heaven.

And as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen

Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name.

Поэта око, в светлом исступленье,
Круговращаясь, блещет и скользит
На землю с неба, на небо с земли -

И, лишь создаст воображенье виды
Существ неведомых, поэта жезл
Их претворяет в лица и даёт
Теням воздушным местность и названье!

"To airy nothing" is translated by Tyutchev as tenyam vozdushnym (to airy
shadows). A famous poem by Tyutchev begins: Teni sizye smesilis': ("The
blue-grey shadows got commingled:" 1835). In PF the Shadows are a regicidal
organization that commissioned Gradus to assassinate the self-banished king
of Zembla. Kinbote (Charles Xavier Vseslav, the last King of Zembla)
mockingly calls Gradus "Vinogradus" and "Leningradus." In one of his light
poems VN calls Leningrad (St. Petersburg's name in 1924-91) Lenin grad
("Helen's city"). In the same monologue in Shakespeare's play Theseus
mentions Helen's beauty:

The lunatic, the lover, and the poet

Are of imagination all compact.

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold-

That is the madman. The lover, all as frantic,

Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt.

Любовники, безумцы и поэты
Из одного воображенья слиты!..
Тот зрит бесов, каких и в аде нет
(Безумец, то есть); сей равно безумный,
Любовник страстный, видит, очарован,
Елены красоту в цыганке смуглой.

According to Kinbote (note to Line 71), Amphitheatricus (a writer of
fugitive poetry in the liberal gazettes) dubbed his capital "Uranograd" (a
play on "uranism," homosexuality; Uran the Last was the Emperor of Zembla
who reigned in 1798-99). In his poem Urania (1820) Tyutchev asks: Gde
Vavilony zdes'? Gde Fivy? Gde moy grad? (Where are Babylons here? Where are
Thebes? Where is my city?) Urania in Tyutchev's poem is Aphrodite Urania,
not the Muse of astronomy.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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