NABOKV-L post 0009001, Mon, 8 Dec 2003 16:03:39 -0800

Fw: Ada's portrait - a better image and some additional data
EDNOTE. Needless to say, this additional information strengthens the possible connection of Serov's picture to Nabokov's Ada.

----- Original Message -----
From: alex
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Monday, December 08, 2003 3:00 PM
Subject: Ada's portrait - a better image and some additional data

Hello again,

I'm trying to send a better image that was actually found by our Editor. He has also discovered that Adelaida Simonovich ("Liolia" as everybody called her) was born, like our Ada, in 1872, and that she and her sister Nadezhda were married to the two brothers Derviz (or, more correctly, von Doerviz), Valerian and Vladimir, respectively. Valerian was a mathematician, and Vladimir, a painter, the friend of Vrubel and Serov. Actually, Serov was the first cousin of the Simonovich girls. It remains to add that the Nabokovs could have known the von Doerviz family who lived in a palazzo on the English quay not far from the Nabokovs' house on the Morskaya street directly or through some mutual friends. The same can be said of the Nabokovs' possible acquaintance with Serov.

Interestingly, half a century before, in the reign of Alexander I, such "cross-marriages" between a pair of brothers and a pair of sisters (or between two pairs of siblings) were prohibited by law as incestuous. A tragic situation, when an officer isn't allowed to marry the younger sister of his older brother's wife, that is his little sister-in-law with whom he is madly in love, is described in Khodasevich's marvellous pastiche "The Life of Vasiliy Travnikov." Khodasevich read it at a literary soiree in Paris when his friend Sirin also read some of his short stories.