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A parlor game played by young people in Russia and presumably elsewhere: the players form a circle all holding the same string, along which a ring is passed from hand to hand while a player in the middle of the circle tries to guess whose hands conceal the ring (p.65).

No. 68 Prince

141

Vladimir Nabokov: Lectures on Russian literature

Princess Shcherbatski's way of addressing her husband as knyaz (Prince) is an old-fashioned Moscovism. Note also that the Prince calls his daughters "Katenka" and "Dashenka" in the good Russian manner, i.e., having no use, as it were, for new-fangled English diminutives ("Kitty" and "Dolly") (p.66).

No. 69 Tyutki

A plural noun applied by the gruff Prince to the young scatterbrains, with connotations of fatuousness and foppery. It does not really suit Vronski whom Kitty's father seems to have in mind here; Vronski may be vain and frivolous but he is also ambitious, intelligent, and persevering. Readers will note the curious echo of this fancy word in the name of the hairdresser ("Tyutkin coiffeur") whose sign Anna reads with a roaming eye on the day of her death while driving through the streets of Moscow (p. 885); she is struck by the absurd contrast of "Tyutkin," a Russian comedy name, with the stiff French epithet

"coiffeur," and for a second reflects she might amuse Vronski by making a joke of this (p.66).

No. 70 Corps of pages

Pazbeski ego imperatorskogo velichestva korpus (His Imperial Majesty's Corps of Pages), a military school for the sons of noblemen in old Russia, founded 1802, reformed 1865 (p.68).

No. 71 Chateau des Fleurs, can-can

Allusion to a night restaurant with vaudeville performances on a stage. "The notorious can-can ... is only a quadrille danced by gross people" (Allen Dodworth in Dancing and its Relations to Education and Social Life, London, 1885) (p.69).

No. 72 The station

The Nikolaevski or Peterburgski railway station in the north-central part of Moscow. The line was built by the government in 1843-1851. A fast train covered the distance between Petersburg and Moscow (about 400 miles) in twenty hours in 1862

and in thirteen hours in 1892. Leaving Petersburg around 8 p.m., Anna arrived in Moscow a little after 11 a.m. the following day (p.70).

No. 73 Ah, your Serenity

An inferior—servant, clerk, or tradesman—would address a titled person (prince or count) as "your Serenity," vashe siyatel'stvo (German "Dur-chlaucht"). The use which Prince Oblonski (who is a siyatel'stvo in his own right, of course) makes of the term in greeting Count Vronski is playfully patronizing: he mimics an elderly attendant stopping a young scapegrace in his tracks, or—as more precisely, perhaps—acts the staid family man speaking to a flighty bachelor (p.70).

No. 74 Honi soit qui mal y pense

The motto of the Order of the Garter, "Shame to him who thinks evil of it," as pronounced by Edward the Third in 1348

when rebuking the mirth of some noblemen over a lady's fallen garter (p.70).

No. 75 Diva

This Italian word ("the divine one") was applied to celebrated singers (e.g., la diva Patti); by 1870, in France and elsewhere, the term was often used in reference to flashy ladies of the variety stage; but here I think a respectable singer or actress is implied. This diva, reflected and multiplied, takes part in Oblonski's dream—the dream from which he awakes Friday at 8

a.m., February 11 (p. 4). Here, on page 71 Oblonski and Vronski talk of the supper to be given in her honor next day, Sunday, February 13. On page 77 Oblonski talks about her ("the new singer") with Countess Vronski at the station, that same Saturday morning, February 12. Finally, on page 90, he tells his family, at 9:30 p.m. the same Saturday, that Vronski has just 142

Vladimir Nabokov: Lectures on Russian literature

called to inquire about the dinner they are to give next day to a celebrity from abroad. It seems that Tolstoy could not quite make up his mind whether the occasion was to be formal or frivolous (p.71).

It should be noted that at the end of part five, the appearance of a famous singer (the diva Patti, this time she is named) occurs in a critical passage of Anna's romance with Vronski.

No. 76 Through the frosty haze one could distinguish a number of railway workers, wearing short sheepskin coats and felt snowboots, in the act of stepping across the rails of the curving tracks

Here commences a sequence of subtle moves on Tolstoy's part aiming at bringing about a gruesome accident and, simultaneously, adducing the impressions from which later a crucial nightmare seen both by Anna and Vronski will be formed. The poor visibility among the frosty vapors is connected with various muffled-up figures such as these railway workers and, a little further, the muffled-up, frost-covered engine driver. The death of the railway guard which Tolstoy is preparing occurs on page 77: "a guard . . . too much muffled up against the severe frost had not heard a train backing [the optical haze becomes an auditory one] and had been crushed." Vronski views the mangled body (p.77) and he (and possibly Anna) has also noticed a peasant with a bag over his shoulder emerge from the train (p.72)—a visual impression that will breed. The theme of "iron" (which is beaten and crushed in the subsequent nightmare) is also introduced here in terms of a station platform vibrating under a great weight (p.71).

No. 77 The locomotive came rolling by

In the famous photograph (1869) of the first two transcontinental trains meeting at Promontory Summit, Utah, the engine of the Central Pacific (building from San Francisco eastward) is seen to have a great flaring funnel stack, while the engine of the Union Pacific (building from Omaha westward) sports but a straight slender stack topped by a spark-arrester. Both types of chimneys were used on Russian locomotives. According to Collignon's Chemins de Fer Russes (Paris, 1868), the seven and a half meters long locomotive, with wheels oOOo, of the fast train connecting Petersburg and Moscow had a straight funnel two and a third meters high, i.e., exceeding by thirty centimeters the diameter of its driving wheels whose action is so vigorously described by Tolstoy (p.72).

No. 78 This lady's appearance . . .

It is not necessary for the reader to look at Anna with Vronski's eyes, but for those who are anxious to appreciate all the details of Tolstoy's art, it is necessary to realize clearly what he meant his heroine to look like. Anna was rather stout but her carriage was wonderfully graceful, her step singularly light. Her face was beautiful, fresh, and full of animation. She had curly black hair that was apt to come awry, and gray eyes glistening darkly in the shadow of thick lashes. Her glance could light up with an enchanting glow or assume a serious and woeful expression. Her unpainted lips were a vivid red. She had plump arms, slender wrists and tiny hands. Her handshake was vigorous, her motions rapid. Everything about her was elegant, charming and real (p.73).

No. 79 Oblonski! Here!

Two men of fashion, close friends or messmates, might call each other by their surnames, or even by their titles—count, prince, baron—reserving first names or nicknames for special occasions. When Vronski calls to Steve "Oblonski!" he is using an incomparably more intimate form of address than if he had shouted out Stepan Arkadyevich's name and patronymic (p.74).

No. 80 Vous filez le parfait amour. Tant mieux, mon cher

     

 

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