In a poem that he composed in a Quebec sanatorium Humbert Humbert calls Lolita “my car pet” and asks her “what make is the magic carpet:”


Where are you riding, Dolores Haze?

What make is the magic carpet?

Is a Cream Cougar the present craze?

And where are you parked, my car pet? (2.25)


In a little poem that he composed for Rita Humbert Humbert mentions Diana:


In the silent painted park where I walked her and aired her a little, she [Rita] sobbed and said I would soon, soon leave her as everybody had, and I sang her a wistful French ballad, and strung together some fugitive rhymes to amuse her:


The place was called Enchanted Hunters. Query:

What Indian dyes, Diana, did thy dell

endorse to make of Picture Lake a very

blood bath of trees before the blue hotel?


She said: “Why blue when it is white, why blue for heaven’s sake?” and started to cry again, and I marched her to the car, and we drove on to New York, and soon she was reasonably happy again high up in the haze on the little terrace of our flat. (2.26)


In Ada Rita is Van’s partner in a tango that he dances on his hands:


For the tango, which completed his number on his last tour, he was given a partner, a Crimean cabaret dancer in a very short scintillating frock cut very low on the back. She sang the tango tune in Russian:


Pod znóynïm nébom Argentínï,

Pod strástnïy góvor mandolinï


'Neath sultry sky of Argentina,

To the hot hum of mandolina


Fragile, red-haired 'Rita' (he never learned her real name), a pretty Karaite from Chufut Kale, where, she nostalgically said, the Crimean cornel, kizil', bloomed yellow among the arid rocks, bore an odd resemblance to Lucette as she was to look ten years later. (1.30)


A reporter heard Mascodagama curse a crease in the stage carpet:


A shrewd reporter, who had heard him curse a crease in the stage carpet, commented in print on his 'Yankee twang.' Dear Mr 'Vascodagama' received an invitation to Windsor Castle from its owner, a bilateral descendant of Van's own ancestors, but he declined it, suspecting (incorrectly, as it later transpired) the misprint to suggest that his incognito had been divulged by one of the special detectives at Chose - the same, perhaps, who had recently saved the psychiatrist P. O. Tyomkin from the dagger of Prince Potyomkin, a mixed-up kid from Sebastopol, Id. (ibid.)


In VN’s Russian translation of Lolita (1967) “P. O. Tyomkin, Odessa, Texas” is one of Quilty’s aliases that hints at the Eyzenshteyn movie:


Я замечал, что, как только ему начинало казаться, что его плутни становятся чересчур заумными, даже для такого эксперта, как я, он меня приманивал опять загадкой полегче. "Арсен Люпэн" был очевиден полуфранцузу, помнившему детективные рассказы, которыми он увлекался в детстве; и едва ли следовало быть знатоком кинематографа, чтобы раскусить пошлую подковырку в адресе: "П. О. Тёмкин, Одесса, Техас". (2.23)


On Antiterra Lolita is the name of the little Andalusian gipsy in Osberg’s novel The Gitanilla:


For the big picnic on Ada's twelfth birthday and Ida's forty-second jour de fête, the child was permitted to wear her lolita (thus dubbed after the little Andalusian gipsy of that name in Osberg's novel and pronounced, incidentally, with a Spanish 't,' not a thick English one), a rather long, but very airy and ample, black skirt, with red poppies or peonies, 'deficient in botanical reality,' as she grandly expressed it, not yet knowing that reality and natural science are synonymous in the terms of this, and only this, dream. (1.13)


Alexey Sklyarenko

Google Search
the archive
the Editors
NOJ Zembla Nabokv-L
Subscription options AdaOnline NSJ Ada Annotations L-Soft Search the archive VN Bibliography Blog

All private editorial communications are read by both co-editors.