I belatedly realize that the
cartoonists Emmanuil de Saint Priest and Emmanuel Poiré (Caran d'Ache) are the namesakes of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), the
German philosopher who is mentioned in Ada (2.5): "It [the closet] had a keyless hole as
big as Kant's eye. Kant was famous for his cucumicolor
Kant + iris = Sirin + akt = satirik +
Sirin - Nabokov's Russian nom de plume
akt - Russ., act (cf.
polovoy akt, "coitus"; Lucette whom Van and Ada locked up in the
closet watches them making love through the keyhole*)
satirik - Russ.,
Btw., Kant appears in Aldanov's "The Ninth
Thermidor" (the first novel in Aldanov's tetralogy "The Thinker" about the
Napoleonic wars) where he has blue eyes. What was the color
of Kant's eyes? "Cucumicolor" suggests that they were green, the same color
as Lucette's eyes are.
Incidentally, Kant famously said that genuine
Revolution is the one that happens in man's consciousness.
Kant was born and spent all his life in Koenigsberg
(renamed Kaliningrad after the World War II). Koenig is German for "king".
Lucette visits Van (bringing him a letter from Ada) in Kingston (2.5). Like
Kant, Van is a University Professor.
Van graduated from Chose [University in England].
Chose means "thing" in French. In his "Critique of Pure Reason" Kant writes
of "thing in itself" (Ding an sich).
As the readers of Vladimir Solov'yov would
know, the name Immanuel means "God is with us". The closing line of
Solov'yov's poem "Имману-эль" ("Immanu-el",
1892) reads: "Бессильно зло; мы вечны; с нами бог!" (Evil is
impotent. We will be forever. God is with us!). What is even more
important, Эль (El) means "God" in Hebrew.** So L in the
mysterious L disaster (a kind of Revelation that was more terrible than
Revolution) seems to stand for [the
Divine] Log[os], Antiterran Supreme Being. The
problem of Ada's L disaster is now solved. С нами Лог (Log is with
*note the keyhole in the "Sorbonne" scene in
Ilf and Petrov's "The 12 chairs" (see my latest post)
**note that, according to Adam whom the hero
of Dante's Divine Comedy meets in Paradise (Paraiso, Canto
XXVI, 133-36), the name of God was at first I and
ch’i’ scendessi a l’infernale ambascia,
I s’appellava in terra il sommo
onde vien la letizia che mi
El si chiamò poi…
(see also my Russian essay "Жили у бабуси два
весёлых гуся, или Ада как роман-шарадоид" in Zembla)