NABOKV-L discussion


A place for continuing the NABOKV-L discussion online (subscribe)

Idea about Grainball City

Submitted by daniel_desouza on Thu, 11/19/2020 - 16:07

Hello all,

This is my first time posting, so please forgive any mistakes regarding conventions of the forum.

Earlier this year I was watching a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays, which happened to take place in Buffalo, NY because COVID travel restrictions. During an inning with not much action, the YES commentators started discussing how the air in Buffalo is notorious for smelling like breakfast cereal because of a waterfront General Mills plant. The company has used this plant to produce Cheerios and other products since 1928.

Esmeralda and Her Pandarus

Submitted by MARYROSS on Tue, 11/17/2020 - 14:31

If VN’s intent in LATH was to distance himself from his work through a parody of readership projections, it seems it may also have been to bring the essence of his novels closer to reader apprehension through the conflated parodied titles; e.g. See Under Real seems to conflate TRLSK with PF. The theme of both is the appropriation of the writer of genius by the commentator, ending ambiguously as either an ironic mistake or spiritual transcendence.

Junkers = Jungs

Submitted by MARYROSS on Thu, 11/12/2020 - 23:57

I recently began re-reading LATH, a book I did not care for on first reading. This second time around I find there are some interesting connections that I missed before. The conflated and skewed authorial re-inventions shed light on Nabokov’s estimations of his previous novels, and suggest keys to their salient points. In fact, it may even be the point and purpose of the novel, like in Speak, Memory where he hopes for closer readings  because he “hates to have to point such things out.”


The Cicada Transition in Pale Fire

Submitted by Alain Champlain on Mon, 11/02/2020 - 04:44

I wanted to point out a detail in this transition:

“Espied on a pine’s bark,
As we were walking home the day she died,
An empty emerald case, squat and frog-eyed,
Hugging the trunk; and its companion piece,
A gum-logged ant.
                         That Englishman in Nice,
A proud and happy linguist: je nourris
Les pauvres cigales—meaning that he
Fed the poor sea gulls!” (Lines 236-243)

The first scene takes place in "the beginning of 1950" the day Maud Shade dies.

Kinbote as ego-complex MARYROSS Wed, 10/28/2020 - 12:24

I have been posting on this site my theory of a Jungian substrate to Pale Fire, particularly the idea that the novel’s main characters are archetypes within Prof. Botkin’s subconscious. I have found in the text specific Jungian words that relate to the character archetypes, i.e: shadow (Gradus), mask (Shade/persona), joker (G. Emerald/trickster), and typical images for the anima women (soul, butterfly, mermaid, nymph, spider, Medusa, indistinct, blurry), savior (Balthasar/self), Judge & Dr.

HH as "Thumber" in Lolita

Submitted by caroline_wall on Mon, 10/19/2020 - 13:03

Good afternoon, folks! This is my first post—glad to be joining you all, and please forgive me if this already well-trodden ground. I was messing around with an anagram decoder earlier today, and realized I had never tried rearranging "Humbert" before now. Turns out I could have seen "thumber" hidden in there pretty easily if I just took out the space and wrote Humberthumbert, but hey, no use crying over spilled milk.

A Pale Fire Foreword "Word Cloud"

Submitted by William Dane on Sun, 10/04/2020 - 21:05

Below is a "word cloud" of the Foreword in Pale Fire, where the relative size of each term indicates the relative number of times it shows up in the text, with articles (and any other terms indicated by the user) not counted. I made it using an app from, with text pasted in via the following sequence: a screenshot of each spread in the Vintage e-book, then Adobe Acrobat file assembly and Character Recognition. I then deleted the pdf.

A Trip to Cedarn

Submitted by MARYROSS on Fri, 09/18/2020 - 17:48

I just took a little trip in the Wayback machine,* set for “Cedarn,” and arrived in 1998 to discover (from Tom Bolt) that:


> “Cedarn” occurs in Coleridge’s Kubla Khan: “But oh! That deep romantic chasm which slanted/Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover” (Lines 12-13)


Adding to Ada Online? Note re: Van and Demon's morphing stories

Submitted by Alain Champlain on Thu, 09/17/2020 - 21:03

Not sure how a note would be added to Ada Online, but I think this one should be fairly uncontroversial.

On Van's first day back at Ardis in 1888, the details of his arrival morph, starting with:

"My horse caught a hoof in a hole in the rotting planks of Ladore Bridge and had to be shot. I have walked eight miles." (P.189)

Then a few lines later, the narrator reports that "[h]is train had broken down in the fields between Ladoga and Ladore, he had walked twenty miles[...]"