In his Foreword and Commentary to Shade’s poem (note to Line 71 et passim) Kinbote often mentions the glorious friendship that brightened the last months of John Shade’s life. Kinbote, who imagines that he is the self-exiled last king of Zembla, Charles the Beloved, suffers from megalomania. In the same stanza of Eugene Onegin in which he says that we all expect to be Napoleons and that the millions of two-legged creature for us are orudie odno (only tools) Pushkin mentions druzhba (friendship):


Но дружбы нет и той меж нами

But in our midst there’s even no such friendship (Two: XIV: 1).


Shade, Kinbote and Gradus (the killer whom Kinbote mentions, along with a million of photographers, in the last sentence of his Commentary: in fact, Gradus is its last word) seem to be odno (one).


Btw., Druzhba (1824) is a little poem by Pushkin:


Что дружба? Лёгкий пыл похмелья,
Обиды вольный разговор,
Обмен тщеславия, безделья
Иль покровительства позор.


What's friendship? A light ardor of hangover,

A free talk of mortification,

An exchange of vanity, idleness,

Or a disgrace of protection.


druzhba + dva = vrazhda + dub

drug + slava + Stalin + breg/gerb/Berg + vred = Gradus + vlastelin + vrag/Gavr + bred


dva – 2

vrazhda – enmity, hostility

dub – oak; in the opening line of his introductory poem to Ruslan and Lyudmila Pushkin mentions dub zelyonyi (the green oak); according to Kinbote, “tree” in Zemblan is grados

drug – friend

slava – glory; fame; a poem (1942) by VN

breg – obs., shore

gerb – coat of arms

Berg – Germ., mountain; a character in VN’s story Podlets (“An Affair of Honor,” 1924); cf. Bregberg and Bregberg Pass in Kinbote’s Zembla (note to Line 149)

vred – harm, injury; damage

vlastelin – ruler; lord, master

vrag – enemy

Gavr – Le Havre (a seaport in N France) in Russian spelling

bred - delirium


Also, here is a slightly modified version of the “anagradus” in my previous post:


dobro + vinograd + posuda + Bordo + oda = Borodino + Gradus + vodopad + boroda


dobro – good

vinograd – vine; grapes

posuda – crockery; plates & dishes, service; kitchen utensils, etc.

Bordo – Bordeaux in Russian spelling

oda – ode

vodopad – waterfall; an ode by Derzhavin; cf. Niagarin (one of the two Soviet experts in PF); in his poem Narvskiy vodopad (“The Narva Waterfall,” 1825) Vyazemski calls the waterfall serditoy vlagi vlastelin (“the master of angry liquid”), a line that Pushkin criticizes in a letter of Aug. 14-15, 1825, to Vyazemski; serditoy (angry) was later changed to myatezhnoy (rebellious)

boroda – beard; Kinbote is bearded


Alexey Sklyarenko

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