NABOKV-L post 0026694, Wed, 9 Dec 2015 20:13:03 +0300

Netochka & Yeslove in Pale Fire
Professor Nattochdag's nickname, Netochka, hints at Dostoevski's unfinished
novel Netochka Nezvanov (1848). On the other hand, it brings to mind
Dashen'ka (according to Vyazemski, Zhukovski's name for Dashkov*). I
belatedly get VN's joke: while net means "no," da means "yes." A diminutive
of Darya, Dashen'ka brings to mind Sirin's first novel Mashen'ka ("Mary,"
1926) and seems to hint at Yeslove (a town in Kinbote's Zembla, north of
Onhava). Onhava (Zemblan capital) suggests "heaven." According to Delvig
(Pushkin's best friend at the Lyceum), "the nearer to heaven, the colder
one's verses get." Kinbote completes his work on Shade's poem and commits
suicide on Oct. 19, 1959 (the Lyceum anniversary).

*In his EO Commentary (vol. III, p. 323) VN quotes Batyushkov's justly
celebrated letter of Apr. 25, 1814, to Dmitri Dashkov (who was not a Count,
as I incorrectly wrote in my previous post). In the last thirty three years
of his life (1787-1855) poor Batyushkov was insane. After meeting Batyushkov
on Apr. 3, 1830, Pushkin wrote his poem Ne day mne Bog soyti s uma. (The
Lord, Forbid my Going Mad." 1833) in which the words net and da occur.
Professor Botkin (Shade's, Kinbote's and Gradus' "real" name) is mad.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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