Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025772, Sat, 18 Oct 2014 16:10:12 +0300

Tarentine sail in Ada
His reversed body gracefully curved, his brown legs hoisted like a Tarentine sail, his joined ankles tacking, Van gripped with splayed hands the brow of gravity, and moved to and fro, veering and sidestepping, opening his mouth the wrong way, and blinking in the odd bilboquet fashion peculiar to eyelids in his abnormal position. (1.13)

La Jeune Tarentine ("The Young Tarantine") is an elegy by Andre Chenier (1762-94). It is mentioned by VN in his EO Commentary (vol. III, p. 341):

Another candidate [for the post of vozvyshennyi Gall*] is Andre Chenier, who died, aged not quite thirty-two, on the guillotine 7 Thermidor, Year Two (July 25, 1894). Before his arrest in 1894, he had published only two "courageous hymnes" (one of which is Le Jeu de paumme, a David, peintre, 1791). His most famous piece, the elegy known as La Jeune Captive, appeared in the Decade philosophique in 1795 and later in several magazines (as did La Jeune Tarentine). Chateaubriand quoted a Chenier fragment from memory in the Genie (1802), in eulogizing the poet.

In a footnote to his elegy Andrey Shen'e (Andre Chenier, 1825) Pushkin quotes Chenier's last words: pourtant j'avais quelque chose la. Chose is Van's University. It is up at Chose that Van begins to perform as Mascodagama dancing on his hands. (1.30)

Chenier is the author of Ode a Marie-Anne-Charlotte Corday (Marat's murderer known on Antiterra as Cora Day, 1.28).

*Vozvyshennyi Gall ("the exalted Gaul") mentioned by Pushkin in Vol'nost' (Ode to Liberty, 1817) brings to mind Milord Goal, Governor of Lute (as on Antiterra Paris is also known). For the first time Chose and Lute are mentioned in the same paragraph of Ada:

In 1885, having completed his prep-school education, he went up to Chose University in England, where his fathers had gone, and traveled from time to time to London or Lute (as prosperous but not overrefined British colonials called that lovely pearl-gray sad city on the other side of the Channel). (1.28)

P. S. to my previous post:

Задека + пьяница + сентябрь...

Задека - Zadeck

Pushkin's Note 33 to EO: Divinatory books in our country come out under the imprint of Martin Zadeck - a worthy person who never wrote divinatory books, as B. M. Fyodorov observes. See also VN's EO Commentary, vol. II, pp. 514-15.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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