In VNs novel Pale Fire (1962) the last (unwritten) line of Shades (unfinished) poem seems to be:


By its own double in the windowpane.


Dvoynik (The Double) is a novel (1846) by Dostoevski and a poem (1914) by Blok. In his poem O net, ne raskolduesh serdtsa ty (Oh no ! You cannot disenchant my heart... 1912) Blok mentions his shade that will appear on the ninth and on the fortieth day after his death:


֧ߧ ާ ۧէק ֧֧ ҧ

է֧ӧ է֧ߧ, է֧ߧ ܧӧ -

֧٧ߧѧߧߧ, ܧѧڧӧ, ߧ֧اڧӧ.

ѧܧ ӧ֧է ڧܧѧݧ? - , ѧܧ.


And suddenly youll see my shade appear

Before you on the ninth and fortieth day:

Unrecognized, handsome and drear,

The kind of shade you looked for, by the way!


By the way, in the Russian Lolita (1967) the name of Clare Quiltys co-author who wrote her memoirs about him, Kumir moy (My Idol),* is Vivian dAmor-Blok (dAmor was her stage name, Blok was the name of one of her first husbands). Rhymed translations are awful, by the way.


The last line of Shades poem (Line 1001) is its coda. According to G. Ivanov, when he asked Blok if a sonnet needed a coda, Blok replied that he did not know what a coda was. 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). The title of a section in G. Ivanovs book Stikhi (Verses, 1948-58), Rayon de rayonne (A Ray of Artificial Silk), brings to mind John Ray, Jr., the author of the Foreword who tells us about Humbert Humberts and Lolitas deaths. Incidentally, ray is Russian for paradise.


At the end of his poem [Poet idyot]: otkryty vezhdy (The poet goes: his eyes are wide open) quite arbitrarily inserted by the editors in the gap of his unfinished novella Egipetskie nochi (The Egyptian Nights, 1835) Pushkin compares the poet to Desdemona who herself, without asking anybody, chooses kumir (the idol) for her heart:


ѧܧ : ܧѧ ܧӧڧݧ
֧, ߧڧ
ݧ էҧߧ, ݧ֧ѧ֧
, ߧ ߧ ܧԧ,
ѧ ֧٧է֧ާߧ ڧ٧ҧڧѧ֧
ާڧ էݧ ֧է ӧ֧ԧ.


The name of the woman who marries Charles the Beloved (the last King of Zembla), Disa, Duchess of Payn, of Great Payn and Mone, seems to blend Shakespeares Desdemona with Leonardos Mona Lisa. The Leonardo is the English title of VNs story Korolyok (1933). Korolyok is a diminutive of korol (king). VNs novel Korol, dama, valet (King, Queen, Knave, 1928) was criticized by G. Ivanov in an offensive article that appeared in the Paris migr review Chisla (Numbers, #1, 1930).


* My Cue by Vivian Darkbloom in the English version


Alexey Sklyarenko

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