NABOKV-L post 0018104, Tue, 31 Mar 2009 00:41:04 -0300

Re: the meaning of preterist
CKunin [Stan Kelly-Bootle wrote: btw: Speaking of incorporation, Kinbote, in a preterist mood, thought he'd found an incorporated Zemblan counterpart of the Elder Edda...] Dear Sir, This does raise the still unresolved question of the word preterist in Pale Fire. Do you in saying "in a preterist mood" pun on the grammatical meaning of the word, or something else? [...]"

JM: Carolyn, the lines about incorporation were not written by SKB, neither has he (luckily) incorporated any of my incomprehensible ideas to be able to answer them in my stead.
I mentioned "preterist mood" meaning that Kinbote was inclined to look back in order to examine or refer to something in the past.
There were no apocalyptic annunciations intended, no reference to mysterious religious signs in heaven.

It is true that Shade wrote, in line 79: "A preterist: one who collects cold nests." - but I have no idea about what he'd meant.
Perhaps there's a hint about something held back, omitted, a preterition, a pretermission concerning a "cold clue"? The verse, untypically, seems odd to me, gratuitous, even when it serves to define a particular taste in "collecting" items. .
A few lines before he'd mentioned that his parents had been ornithologists (that might explain the choice of "nest") and, in line 80, he adds: "Here was my bedroom, now reserved for guests." Shade might have been merely pointing out to the reader that he no longer sleeps in his former bedroom, or that there were no guests staying at his house at the time, that it had been turned into a "cold nest". In recent years psychologists have dealt with a "syndrome of the abandoned nest" ( when it's the children, not the parents who have left home), but I doubt VN had this in mind.
You stressed the word preterist. Do you have any interpretations of your own?

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