Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003342, Fri, 28 Aug 1998 08:29:12 -0700

Re: Nabokov's story "Krasavitsa" [A Russian Beauty] and a fairy
tale (fwd)
From: Grigori Utgof <utgof@tpu.ee>

On Mon, 10 Aug 1998, Malkolm R. Reynolds wrote

> To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@UCSBVM.UCSB.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Nabokov's story "Krasavitsa" [A Russian Beauty] (fwd)
> From: "Malcolm R. Reynolds" <Reynoldsm001@hawaii.rr.com>
> Could the fairy tale at the end of "A Russian Beauty" be a Nabokovian
> invention? In _Lolita_ just before HH and Lo settle in Beardsley, HH is
> thinking about going through a legal adoption, but he decides not to
> tempt McFate:
> "What stopped me was the awful feeling that if I meddled with fate in
> any way and tried to rationalize her fantastic gift, that gift would be
> snatched away like that palace on the mountain top in the Oriental tale
> which vanished whenever a prospective owner asked its custodian how come
> a strip of sunset sky was clearly visible from afar between black rock
> and foundation."
> There may be some Orientalist out there who can nail this tale exactly,
> and then again---??

Well, it's a very interesting qestion indeed. My academic advisor wrote a
paper on "A Russian Beauty" (Irina Belobrovtseva, Svetlana Turovskaia.
"Krasavitsa" Vladimira Nabokova: vecho letiashchaia strela, popavshaia v
tsel'" In: _Wiener slawistishcher almanach_ , 38 (1996) ). Once I asked
her if she had found the source of that "skazka", and she replied that
not, and to her opinion it was probably one of the numerous Nabokov's
inventions. Still it would be great if some orientalist wrote a message
(a study?) on Oriental subtexts in Nabokov's fiction.

Grigori Utgof
Tallinn University of Educational Sciences, udergraduate