NABOKV-L post 0026514, Fri, 9 Oct 2015 16:46:55 +0300

pets & invalids in Pale Fire
In a variant of ll. 231-234 quoted by Kinbote in his Commentary (note to
Line 231) Shade mentions "pets, revived, and invalids, grown well" who dwell
in a strange Other World:

Strange Other World where all our still-born dwell,
And pets, revived, and invalids, grown well,
And minds that died before arriving there:
Poor old man Swift, poor --, poor Baudelaire

In his poem Pamyati kota Murra ("In Memory of the Tomcat Murr," 1934)
Hodasevich mentions poetov i zverey vozlyublennye teni (the beloved shades
of poets and animals) enjoying the deserved rest of eternity in the gardens
beyond the river of fire:

В забавах был так мудр и в мудрости забавен -
Друг утешительный и вдохновитель мой!
Теперь он в тех садах, за огненной рекой,
Где с воробьём Катулл и с ласточкой Державин.

О, хороши сады за огненной рекой,
Где черни подлой нет, где в благодатной лени
Вкушают вечности заслуженный покой
Поэтов и зверей возлюбленные тени!

Когда ж и я туда? Ускорить не хочу
Мой срок, положенный земному лихолетью,
Но к тем, кто выловлен таинственною сетью,
Всё чаще я мечтой приверженной лечу.

According to Hodasevich, his dead cat is now in those gardens where Catullus
is with the sparrow and Derzhavin with the swallow. Shade's parents were
ornithologists. According to Kinbote, Irondell (the maiden name of Shade's
wife) comes from the French for "swallow" (hirondelle). At the beginning
(and at the end) of his unfinished poem Shade says that he was "the shadow
of the waxwing." In the epigraph to PF Samuel Johnson's cat Hodge is
mentioned. In his Commentary (note to Lines 47-48) Kinbote mentions his
landlord's cat. Judge Goldsworth (K.'s landlord) is an authority on Roman
Law. Catullus was a Roman poet.

The river of fire mentioned by Hodasevich is the Phlegethon (one of the five
rivers surrounding Hades). Pushkin's poem Prozerpina ("Proserpine," 1824)

Плещут волны Флегетона,

Своды тартара дрожат,

Кони бледного Плутона

Быстро к нимфам Пелиона

Из аида бога мчат.

The waves of the Phlegethon splash.

The vaults of Tartarus tremble,

Pale Pluto's horses

Quickly whisk the god out of Hades

To the nymphs of Peleus.

In a letter to Pushkin Delvig compared Prozerpina to the singing of a bird
of paradise. Villa Disa built by Queen Disa's grandfather in Nice was
initially called (in Zemblan) Villa Paradisa. The phrase iz aida (out of
Hades) in Pushkin's poem brings to mind "Aida" (as in "The Gift" Shchyogolev
sometimes calls Zina Mertz). According to Fyodor, Zina (in whose surname
there is a half-shimmer) is half-Mnemosyne.

In his Ballada ("A Ballad," 1925) Hodasevich says that he wants to go mad
when he sees an armless man go to the movies with his pregnant wife:

Мне невозможно быть собой,

Мне хочется сойти с ума,

Когда с беременной женой

Идёт безрукий в синема.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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