----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2003 8:07 PM
Subject: Re: "Burning Barn" Query/Kveree

ADA contains at least one allusion to Comtesse de Segur's childrens books. Does anyone out there know whether there is a "Burning Barn" scene in any of them?

Dear Don,

The Comtesse de Segur  (nee Rostopchina) may or may not have written about fictional fires, but she does, through her father, the mayor of Moscow during the War of 1812, have a connection to a very famous fire.

Count Rostopchin famously was accused of starting the fire that burned the city. When he was in France  he willingly accepted credit; upon his return to Russia he refused the responsibility. Historians remain divided too.

I thought I had spotted a reference to the famous literary victim of that fire (the early ms of Slovo o Polku Igoreve, translated by VN into English as The Song of Igor's Campaign), somewhere in Ada, but don't recall it now.* So this may be part of what Boyd calls "a motif" here..


*It was Alexey Sklyarenko who found the allusion: "I spotted at least one allusion to Slovo in Ada: ...freckled red-haired lads, children of the Sun Horse (3.5). It's a play on Hors, presumably the Slav god of sun, who is mentioned in Slovo."