Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0022051, Thu, 29 Sep 2011 15:29:49 +0300

One of the guests at Antonina Pavlovna's birthday party, the famous writer Pyotr Nikolaevich,* says that he is an antidulcinist, a person who doesn't like sweets ("The Event," Act Two). According to A. Babikov,** "antidulcinist" hints at Dolce stil novo (the literary movement of the 13th century in Italy) and at Eugene Onegin ("Here was, to epigrams addicted / a gentleman cross with everything: / with the too-sweet tea of the hostess***). More likely, though, the allusion is to Don Quixote's Dulcinea. Note that Gorky's**** friend Shalyapin impersonated Don Quixote in Massenet's opera and played him in G. W. Pabst's 1933 sound film Adventures of Don Quixote.

*a namesake of Sorin, a character in Chekhov's "The Seagull" (Sirin is but one step away from Sorin)
**the author of Annotations to VN's plays in the Symposium edition
***Chapter Eight, XXV, 1-3
****A. M. Peshkov's pen name means in Russian "bitter" (the antonym of sladkiy, "sweet"). Aleksei Maksimovich Troshcheykin (the main dramatis persona in VN's play) is a namesake of Gorky

Alexey Sklyarenko

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