NABOKV-L post 0023812, Tue, 19 Mar 2013 19:16:10 -0700

Re: Ada's dissolved epigraph
lyubov'yu shutit satana
(with love jokes Satan).

I have to disagree with Alexey's usually excellent English here - Satan does not
joke lovingly, as is would appear in Alexey's translation, but uses love to make
fun of humans, presumably - otkogo etot 'epigraf', Alexey? Excuse me, I see -
Onegin Four. I do love Pushkin's epigrams (can someone spell out the difference
between epigram and epigraph for me?) - no one does it better.


p.s. Speaking of Nelson - a bookseller in London, Peter Harrington, is offering
some interesting pieces of Nelsoniana for want of a better word: an iron bolt
and a piece of the hull of Nelson's great ship 'Victory,' and a walking stick
found in the wreckage.

From: Alexey Sklyarenko <skylark1970@MAIL.RU>
Sent: Tue, March 19, 2013 3:05:40 PM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Ada's dissolved epigraph

Unlike Invitation to a Beheading or The Gift (or Tolstoy's Anna Karenin), Ada
has no epigraph. But one feels that, as in Lolita (or in The Event),
the epigraph is "dissolved" in the text of the novel. It seems to me that a line
from Pushkin's Eugene Onegin (Four: XXI: 14) would do perfectly as an epigraph
to Ada or Ardor: a Family Chronicle:

lyubov'yu shutit satana
(with love jokes Satan).

The novel's main characters, Van and Ada are not only passionate lovers but
also brother and sister. Van's and Ada's half-sister Lucette commits
suicide because of her unrequited love to Van. Van's, Ada's and Lucette's
mother Marina is a twin sister of Aqua, the poor mad wife of Demon Veen (Van's
and Ada's father).

Chapter Four of EO has an epigraph from Necker:*

La morale est dans la nature des choses.

Chose University in England is Van's alma mater.

In the next three stills la force des choses ('the fever of intercourse') had
sufficiently disturbed the lush herbage to allow one to distinguish the details
of a tangled composition consisting of clumsy Romany clips and illegal nelsons.
(Ada, 2.7)

In wrestling, nelson is a hold. On the other hand, Viscount Horatio Nelson
(1758-1805) is the British admiral who participated in the Napoleonic wars and
who was killed during the Battle of Trafalgar (Nelson's best known and most
notable victory).

But [God?] helped - lower grew the murmur
and, by the force of circumstances, soon
we found ourselves in Paris,
and the Russian tsar was the head of kings.
The seas to Albion were apportioned... (EO, Ten: IV: 1-5)

by the force of circumstances / siloyu veshchey: A Gallicism, par la force des
choses. (EO Commentary, vol. III, p. 322)

As a student of Chose Van performs in variety shows dancing on his hands
(1.30). Van's stage name, Mascodagama, hints at Vasco da Gama, the famous
Portuguese navigator.

*Pushkin's quotation is either from De la Littérature (1818) or from
Considérations sur les principaus événemens de la Révolution
française (1818) by Mme de Staёl (Jacques Necker's daughter). According to
Pushkin, Adolph (1816) by Benjamin Constant (a close friend of Mme de Staёl)
belongs to the number of

"two or three novels
in which the epoch is reflected
and modern man
rather correctly represented
with his immoral soul,
selfish and dry,
to dreaming measurelessly given,
with his embittered mind
boiling in empty action." (EO, Seven: XXII: 7-14)

Adolph was translated to Russian by Prince Vyazemski and came out in 1830 with
a dedication to Pushkin.

Chapter One of EO has an epigraph from Prince Vyazemski: To live it hurries and
to feel it hastes.

In Vyazemski's poem Pervyi sneg ("The First Snow", 1822) "it" stands
for goryachnost' molodaya (young ardor):

O'er life thus glides young ardor:
to live it hurries and to feel it hastes...

The son of Prince Vseslav Zemski and Princess Sofia Temnosiniy, Peter Zemski (a
namesake of Pyotr Vyazemski) was a grandfather of Aqua and Marina Durmanov.
Peter Zemski's sister Olga married Erasmus Veen, the grandfather of the cousins
Demon and Daniel Veens who married the twins Aqua and Marina. (Ada, Family

Alexey Sklyarenko
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