NABOKV-L post 0002192, Fri, 20 Jun 1997 16:42:19 -0700

Dmitri Nabokov on VN & Bulat OKUDZHAVA (fwd)
EDITOR's NOTE. After NABOKV-L ran an item on the recent death of Russian
bard Bulat Okadzhava, I mentioned that VN had incorporated a tacit tribute
to unnamed Okudzhava in ADA (Part II, chapter 8) with a couplet whose
first line is a translation and the second a so-called "surface
translation" in which the sound but not the original sense is rendered:
"Nadezhda, I shall then be back / When the true batch outboys the riot."
"True batch" = Russ. "trubach" [bugler]; "outboys" = Russ. "otboy"
[retreat]; and "the riot" shadows Russ. "sygrayet" [plays, sounds].
Gene Barabtarlo and Galya Diment provided more detailed
information. DN comments below:
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 1997
From: Dmitri Nabokov via Sandy Pallot Klein <> -----
To add a few words to those of friends Gene Barabtarlo and Galya Diment:

The piece is called "__Sentimental'niy romans__" in the volume from
which Father translated, but is elsewhere also titled "__Sentimental'niy
marsh__." It begins

S nadezhdoy ya vernus' togda, kogda trubach otboy sigrayet,
kogda trubu k gubam priblizit i ostriy lokot' otvedyot.

Composed presumably in 1957, it has been printed in twelve-line and
twenty-four-line format, and with certain textual variants, e.g.:
capitalization at line beginnings; a dash or none after "__menya__" in
forth line of the twelve-line version; an additional __b__ after
"__kakoe__" in the antepenult line of the twenty- four-liner; and the
most important variant, "__na toy dalyokoy, na Grazhdanskoy__" at end of
penult line of twelve-liner (as used by VN for his translation) instead
of "__edinstvennoy, grazhdanskoy__" at end of antepenult line of

Neither the original nor VN's rendering "Speranza" appears on the liner
of any of my records since I never had the pleasure of singing it. GB
most likely saw a recording of Okudzhava's either in Montreux or at my
Aunt Elena's in Geneva. GB's memory does serve exactly for the Ursus
Restaurant quote in _Ada_.

Okudzhava was one of very few Soviet-era poets to strike a responsive
chord in VN. But I certainly would not have mentioned in the same
breath with him, or, for that matter, with Akhmadulina, that snide
ex-token protester-poetaster, Barbie puppet Yevtushenko.

Perhaps the entire English "Speranza," whose MS, from Florida, I have
located by remote control in Montreux, will now be published in tribute
to Okudzhava, together with part of Vera Nabokov's letter (as quoted by
Boyd) sent when the translation was proposed to the _New Yorker_, and
with some other interesting materials being assembled by Galina