Here’s some word play I have noticed in Pale Fire:
Life Everlasting – based on a misprint! (poem 803)
MISPRINT = SPIRIT + MN
“Life Everlasting” means “spirit” and is found in the word “misprint”. Misprints appear to be important clues in PF for connecting themes and plot solutions and “correlated pattern in the game”.
Kinbote comments on this line (Line 803:misprint) and relates it to a dual English/Russian word play: “The artistic correlation between the crown-crow-cow series and the Russian korona-vorona-korova series is something that
would have, I am sure, enraptured my poet.” Nabokov places a “crow” in another bit of word-play:
The man in the old blazer, crumbing bread,
The crowding gulls insufferably loud,
And one dark pigeon waddling in the crowd. (poem, 440-442)
CROW = dark ‘pigeon’ in the word “CROWD”
I associate this with the many allusions to alchemy in PF. The stage of dissolution in alchemy (nigredo) was called “the raven’s head” (caput corvi). One of the dark shadow Gradus’ aliases is “Ravenstone”. It suggests to me Gradus as “crow”, Kinbote as “crown” and it would be really stupendous if Shade somehow suggested “cow”!
Actually, I take these lines to indicate the man in the blazer as a poet who is “feeding” clamoring critics, and the “one dark pigeon” is lone dissenter, Shade.
Question: Who is the man in the blazer? Is he the same as the Englishman feeding the cigales in Nice? (242)