In Chapter Four of The Gift (1937) Fyodor quotes Charskis words to the improvvisatore in Pushkins story The Egyptian Nights (1835):


« ӧѧ ֧ާ, C ܧѧ٧ѧ ֧ާ ѧܧڧ: C ѧ ڧ٧ҧڧѧ֧ ֧էާ֧ էݧ ӧڧ ֧֧: ݧ ߧ ڧާ֧֧ ѧӧ ѧӧݧ ֧ԧ ӧէߧӧ֧ߧڧ֧».


"Here is a theme for you," said Charski to the improvvisatore. "The poet himself chooses the subjects for his poems; the multitude has no right to direct his inspiration."


In The Life of Chernyshevski (Chapter Four of The Gift) Fyodor mentions Lunacharski, the minister of enlightenment in Lenins government whose name consists of luna (moon) and Charski:


֧ߧڧ ڧѧ, ֧ߧ֧ӧܧڧ «֧էڧߧӧ֧ߧߧ է֧ۧӧڧ֧ݧߧ ӧ֧ݧڧܧڧ ڧѧ֧ݧ, ܧ ާ֧ ڧէ֧ ԧէ ӧݧ է 1888 (ܧڧ ֧ާ էڧ) ѧ ߧ ӧߧ ֧ݧߧԧ ڧݧܧԧ ާѧ֧ڧѧݧڧ٧ާ». ѧ- ܧѧ, ҧ֧ߧӧڧ ߧ ӧ֧ ߧѧѧܧާ, ާԧܧ ԧ ܧѧ٧ѧݧ ֧ާ: « ݧ ܧԧ-ߧڧҧէ ݧѧէڧާڧ ݧڧ ѧ ݧҧڧݡ էާѧ, ާ֧اէ ߧڧ ֧ߧ֧ӧܧڧ ҧݧ ֧ߧ ާߧԧ ҧ֧ԧ». «, ߧ֧ާߧ֧ߧߧ ҧݧ ҧ֧, C էҧѧӧݧ֧ ߧѧѧܧڧ, ߧѧѧݧ ҧݧ ߧ֧ڧۧ ާ ٧ѧާ֧ѧߧڧ ܧ֧ڧ֧ܧ. C ݧ ҧ֧ ߧ ݧԧ, էӧڧاߧ ֧ڡ ڧ ԧݧҧڧߧ اէ֧ߧڧ, ֧ӧݧڧߧߧ ݧѧާ֧ߧڡ ֧էڧߧ֧ߧڧ ԧާߧԧ է֧اѧߧڧ ӧߧ֧ߧ֧ ܧާߧ, ߧѧܧߧ֧ ާѧݧߧ ҧݧڧܧ ҧڧ ڧ ݧէ֧».

Lenin considered Chernyshevski to be "the one truly great writer who managed to remain on a level of unbroken philosophical materialism from the fifties right up until 1888" (he knocked one year off). Once, on a windy day, Krupskaya turned to Lunacharski and said to him with soft sorrow: "There was hardly anyone Vladimir Ilyich liked so much I think he had a great deal in common with Chernyshevski." "Yes, they undoubtedly had much in common," adds Lunacharski, who had tended at first to treat this remark with skepticism. "They had in common both clarity of style and mobility of speech breadth and depth of judgement, revolutionary fire that combination of enormous content with a modest exterior, and finally their joint moral makeup."


In Pale Fire Kinbote mockingly calls Gradus (Kinbotes double who accidentally kills Shade) Vinogradus and Leningradus:


All this is as it should be; the world needs Gradus. But Gradus should not kill things. Vinogradus should never, never provoke God. Leningradus should not aim his peashooter at people even in dreams, because if he does, a pair of colossally thick, abnormally hairy arms will hug him from behind and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. (note to Line 171)


In The Life of Chernyshevski Fyodor mentions the critic Dudyshkin who aimed his dudeen at Chernyshevski:


ߧѧݧ ާ֧ ڧ ֧֧ҧڧݧ ֧ԧ. էܧڧ ("֧֧ӧ֧ߧߧ ѧڧܧ") ҧڧا֧ߧߧ ߧѧѧӧݧ ߧ ߧ֧ԧ ӧ ߧڧܧӧ էէܧ: "٧ڧ էݧ ӧѧ -- ԧݧѧӧ ݧڧڧ֧ܧ ܧߧާڧ, ֧֧ݧا֧ߧߧ ߧ ڧ".

The other literary reviews picked at him as much as they could. The critic Dudyshkin (in The National Commentator) huffily aimed his dudeen at him: Poetry for you is merely chapters of political economy transposed into verse.


The mad commentator of Shades poem, Kinbote is the man of the moonlight (as Rozanov would have called him). In his review of Koncheyevs Soobshchenie (Communication) Christopher Mortus mentions the author of Lyudi lunnogo sveta (People of the Moonlight, 1911).


" ާߧ ܧ -- ܧѧا֧, ٧ѧߧ, ԧӧڧ ԧէ-", -- ߧѧڧߧѧ, ܧѧէڧ, ; , ڧӧ֧է ֧ӧ, ߧ֧էӧ֧ߧ ڧѧ, ܧѧܧ- ާݧ, ܧ֧- ӧܧѧ٧ѧߧߧ ѧڧاܧ ܧѧ ݧ ֧- ݧ֧ܧڧ, ߧѧڧߧѧ اڧӧѧ ڧܧӧ֧ߧߧ ܧԧ ӧܧ "ҧ֧ߧڧ" ߧ֧֧ӧ, ڧק է ܧߧ ѧ ߧ ܧѧѧݧ ֧ߧ, ݧܧ ڧ٧֧էܧ ߧѧѧӧݧ ߧ֧ާ ާ֧ާ֧ڧ֧ܧڧ ا֧ ӧߧ֧ߧߧ֧ԧ ܧԧ -- ܧاڧݧ.

I do not remember who saidperhaps Rozanov said it somewhere, began Mortus stealthily; and citing first this unauthentic quotation and then some thought expressed by somebody in a Paris caf after someones lecture, he began to narrow these artificial circles around Koncheyevs Communication; but even so, to the very end he never touched the center, but only directed now and then a mesmeric gesture toward it from the circumferenceand again revolved. (The Gift, Chapter Three)


The name Gradus brings to mind the critics Latin penname in The Gift. Shades, Kinbotes and Gradus real name seems to be Botkin. Nabokov + Bog + nikto + ladon = bok + Botkin + Aldanov + ogon (see my posts of 4-5 Oct., 2015). In the closing lines of his poem Net, ya ne Bayron, ya drugoy ("No, I'm not Byron, I'm another..." 1832) Lermontov mentions Bog (god), nikto (nobody) and tolpa (crowd; multitude, the word used in The Egyptian Nights by Charski):


ݧ ާ ѧܧѧا֧ էާ?
- ڧݧ ҧ - ڧݧ ߧڧܧ!



will tell the crowd my thoughts?

Myself - or God - or nobody!


The real name of Hazel Shade (the poets poor daughter who drowned herself) seems to be Nadezhda Botkin. In his poem Lermontov mentions nadezhd razbitykh gruz (a load of wrecked hopes) that lies in his soul, like in an ocean:


է ާ֧, ܧѧ ܧ֧ѧߧ,
ѧէ֧ا ѧ٧ҧڧ ԧ ݧ֧اڧ.
ާا֧, ܧ֧ѧ ԧާ,
ӧ ڧ٧ӧ֧էѧ ѧۧߧ?


A load of wrecked hopes

Lies in my soul, like in an ocean.

The gloomy ocean, who can

come to know your secrets?


In his poem Kak v Gretsiyu Bayron - o, bez sozhalenya (Like Byron to Greece, oh, without regret 1927) G. Ivanov mentions blednyi ogon (pale fire; according to Shade, Pale Fire is a moondrop title). In his abusive review in Chisla (The Numbers No. 1, 1930) of VNs novels and stories G. Ivanov mentions ladon (palm of the hand):


ӧ - ܧާ ڧ էӧ ާѧߧ ڧڧߧ ֧ "ѧ֧ߧܧ". , ӧ, ܧާ "ѧ֧ߧܧ" ֧ ݧ֧اѧѧ ֧ۧѧ ֧֧է ާߧ, ݧܧ ӧ֧էѧ ܧߧڧԧ ѧܧѧ٧ ڧ "٧ӧѧ֧ߧڧ ҧ". ڧ ܧߧڧԧѧ, է ܧߧ, ܧѧ ߧ ݧѧէߧ, ѧܧӧѧ֧ ӧ ڧѧ֧ݧܧѧ ڧڧߧ.

In these books [Mary and The Return of Chorb] the whole essence of Sirin as a writer comes to light in its entirety, as on a palm.


Alexey Sklyarenko

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