NABOKV-L discussion


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VNs novel self-references in Pale Fire?

Submitted by MARYROSS on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 20:47

I offer the following not to make any definite claims, but as intriguing to ponder…


Nabokov references Lolita and Pnin in Pale Fire. “Hurricane Lolita” sweeping the nation is a cagey and clever self-reference, but the appearance of Professor Pnin has struck me as a bit heavy handed – why introduce this character from another book who has no real purpose except to be a character from another book?


Ce conifère jamais n'est mort (poem)

Submitted by Alain Champlain on Sat, 04/06/2019 - 16:20

Ce conifère jamais n'est mort,—
Même en hiver
Au nord, au nord, au nord, au nord, au nord
C'est vert, c'est vert, c'est vert, c'est vert, c'est vert.


I wrote the above poem over the winter break, and thought I should finally share it. It's a perversion of Nabokov's "never-never" poem in Ada. I'm especially happy that the last line's multilingual pun survived. Here's the original:


Word-play in Pale Fire

Submitted by MARYROSS on Mon, 04/01/2019 - 18:03

Here’s some word play I have noticed in Pale Fire:



Life Everlasting – based on a misprint! (poem 803)




“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”.


Nabokov's Shakespeare edition?

Submitted by Brian_Boyd on Wed, 03/27/2019 - 16:48

The wonderful literary critic Jonathan Bate, best known as a Shakespearean, is writing a book on six favorite authors, including Nabokov, and wants to link each of them to their love of Shakespeare, and especially by their own personal copy of Shakespeare. Nabokov had a cheap one-volume edition, and a Folger edition of Hamlet, but I also saw a three or four-volume edition whose size was, I think, sextodecimo (twice the size of Kinbote's 32mo Timon Afinsken) in vermilion soft leather in an exhibition at the Montreux Palace in 1999.

Nabokovs at Holderness School

Submitted by matthew_roth on Wed, 03/27/2019 - 11:16

I grew up not too far from The Holderness School, in New Hampshire, where Dmitri attended in the late 40s and early 50s. One of my grade school classmates is now the editor of the school's alumni magazine and shared with me this photo and amusing caption, which first appeared in the school's 1951 yearbook, The Dial. Nabokovs at Holderness School

Gerald Emerald = bad Bob?

Submitted by MARYROSS on Sun, 03/03/2019 - 17:46

I am wondering if it has been noted anywhere that Gerald Emerald must be “bad Bob,” Kinbote’s erstwhile roomer? It seems so obvious to me now, but there is nothing in the listserve archives - perhaps somewhere else?


The convincing clue for me is in the index under Kinbote: “His participation in a Common Room discussion of his resemblance to the King, and his final rupture with E. (not in the Index)” (my emphasis)