'Playing croquet with you,' said Van, 'should be rather like using flamingoes and hedgehogs.'
'Our reading lists do not match,' replied Ada. 'That Palace in Wonderland was to me the kind of book everybody so often promised me I would adore, that I developed an insurmountable prejudice toward it. (1.8)
"Palace in Wonderland" seems to hint at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. In Epos i lirika sovremennoy Rossii ("The Epic and Lyric Poetry of Contemporary Russia: Vladimir Mayakovski and Boris Pasternak," 1932) Marina Tsvetaev quotes Mayakovski's poem Horosho! ("Good!" 1927):
От витии до рыночного зазывалы Маяковский не­устанно что-то в мозги вбивает, чего-то от нас добивается — какими угодно средствами, вплоть до грубейших, неизменно удачных. Пример последнего:
И на кровати Александры Феодоровны
Развалился Александр Феодорович.
— то, что мы все знали, созвучие имён, которое все от­мечали — ничего нового но — здорово! И как бы мы ни от­носились и к Александре Феодоровне, и к Александру Фёдоро­вичу, и к самому Маяковскому, каждый из нас этими строка­ми удовлетворён, как формулой.
"And Aleksandr Fyodorovich sprawled
on the bed of Aleksnadra Fyodorovna."
Mayakovski plays on the fact that A. F. Kerenski, the premier in 1917, is a "namesake" of the last Russian Empress, wife of Nicholas II. V. V. Mayakovski happens to be VN's namesake. In his poem O pravitelyakh ("On Rulers," 1945) VN mentions his "late namesake," the coachmen of Empires and monstrous pumpkin. In Charles Perrault's fairy tale Cendrillon ou la Petite Pantoufle de verre a pumpkin is metamorphosed into the carriage and a rat into the coachman:
Золушка принесла крысоловку, из которой выглядывали три большие крысы.
Фея выбрала одну из них, самую крупную и усатую, дотронулась до неё своей палочкой, и крыса сейчас же превратилась в толстого кучера с пышными усами, – таким усам позавидовал бы даже главный королевский кучер.
In the Russian version the fat coachman with droopy mustache resembles Stalin very much. In her Povest' o Sonechke Marina Tsvetaev compares Sonya Gollidey to Zolushka (Cendrillon): А вы - Золушка, которая должна золу золить, пока другие танцуют.  
Sonya being Russian for "dormouse," Sonya is also a character in Anya v strane chudes, VN's Russian version of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Anya is a diminutive of Anna. VN's Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle begins:
'All happy families are more or less dissimilar; all unhappy ones are more or less alike,' says a great Russian writer in the beginning of a famous novel (Anna Arkadievitch Karenina, transfigured into English by R. G. Stonelower, Mount Tabor Ltd., 1880). That pronouncement has little if any relation to the story to be unfolded now, a family chronicle, the first part of which is, perhaps, closer to another Tolstoy work, Detstvo i Otrochestvo (Childhood and Fatherland, Pontius Press, 1858).
Darkbloom ('Notes to Ada'): All happy families etc: mistranslations of Russian classics are ridiculed here. The opening sentence of Tolstoy's novel is turned inside out and Anna Arkadievna's patronymic given an absurd masculine ending, while an incorrect feminine one is added to her surname. 'Mount Tabor' and 'Pontius' allude to the transfigurations (Mr G. Steiner's term, I believe) and betrayals to which great texts are subjected by pretentious and ignorant versionists.
In Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago (1957) Preobrazhenie ("Transfiguration") is one of Yuri Zhivago's poems. See also in Topos my Russian article "All's Well that Ends Well: the Optimism of Pushkin, Tolstoy, Mayakovski, Pasternak and Nabokov."
"The time of dream" in my previous post should be "the dream time."
Alexey Sklyarenko
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