I was finishing my previous post (“Mascodagama & Vanda Broom in Ada”) in haste and forgot to point out that golik (the whisk, the broom) comes from golyi (naked). Van is naked when he attempts to walk on his hands on the terrace of Cordula’s apartment:


One Sunday, while Cordula was still lolling in her perfumed bath (a lovely, oddly unfamiliar sight, which he delighted in twice a day), Van 'in the nude' (as his new sweetheart drolly genteelized 'naked'), attempted for the first time after a month's abstinence to walk on his hands. (1.43)


On the other hand, in alkogolik (an alcoholic) there is golik. In his conversation with Greg Erminin (Grace’s twin brother whom Van meets in Paris) Van mentions diet of champagne:


‘I grew a regular vollbart last summer. You’d never have known me then. Beer? Wonder what you do to look so boyish, Van.’

‘Diet of champagne, not beer,’ said Professor Veen, putting on his spectacles and signaling to a waiter with the crook of his ‘umber.’ ‘Hardly stops one adding weight, but keeps the scrotum crisp.’

‘I’m also very fat, yes?’

‘What about Grace, I can’t imagine her getting fat?’

‘Once twins, always twins. My wife is pretty portly, too.’ (2.2)


On several occasions Krylov (the fabulist who was very fat) shocked people by appearing naked in public.


At the end of Chapter Seven (LIV: 14) of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin tolstyi etot general (that fat general) is mentioned.


yug + golik + pol’za + Sirin + Gremin + race = Yuzlik + Gogol’ + Paris + Erminin + Grace

shkola + utka + golik = shutka + alkogolik


yug – South

pol’za – use; advantage, benefit, profit; in Krylov’s Golik pol’za is mentioned

Sirin – VN’s Russian nom de plume

Gremin – the name of Tatiana’s husband in Chaykovski’s opera

Yuzlik – the film director who dines with Van and the Vinelanders: Yuzlik was dying to say something. Van yielded to the well-meaning automaton. ‘I’m delighted and honored to dine with Vasco de Gama,’ said Yuzlik holding up his glass in front of his handsome facial apparatus. (3.8); onboard The Admiral Tobakoff Van and Lucette watch Yuzlik’s film Don Juan’s Last Fling (3.5)

shkola – school

utka – duck

shutka – joke


Alexey Sklyarenko

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