NABOKV-L post 0018196, Mon, 20 Apr 2009 14:24:50 -0300

Re: THOUGHTS: Proof beyond ultimate proof--I mean,
plausibility argument (long)
J. Friedman:I hadn't considered that we could believe Shade was shot but later than the day he wrote line 999...Back to the map for a second [...] about Shade's seeing the light reflecting from Dr.Sutton's windowpanes. I'd forgotten that Dr. Sutton is a composite of two doctors (whose names I think are
Sutcliff and Clifton). Maybe one lives north of Shade and the other southwest, where the setting sun could easily reflect off his windows to Shade's porch.

JM: When doubting an unreliable narrator one must doubt him all the way ( even when his emotions are sincere or he is merely deceiving himself! Has anyone discussed PF's epigraph? It comes so close to VN's dedication to Véra that I think that the Boswell choice is Nabokov's, not Kinbote's. Boswell is not an unreliable narrator, though.
Jerry, why couldn't Shade have written his last lines upstairs, in his study? We know, from his poem, that it formed a triptych or a tryptich*(if the poem had 999 lines, if they were arranged in a different order, we'd have a symmetrical triptych with 333, 666(oops) and 999 sets of verses)
Kinbote echoes it: "He awoke to find her standing with a comb in her hand before his - or rather, his grandfather's - cheval glass, a triptych of bottomless light, a really fantastic mirror, signed with a diamond by its maker, Sudarg of Bokay."
He might have echoed the poem's Aunt Maud index, too, when describing poltergeists and the open dictionary in the lawn.
Shade's original (very close to his mentioning T.S.Eliot) is:Sometimes I'd help her with a Latin text,/ Or she'd be reading in her bedroom, next/ To my fluorescent lair, and you would be/ In your own study, twice removed from me, [...] the point is that the three/ Chambers, then bound by you and her and me,/ Now form a tryptich or a three-act play/ In which portrayed events forever stay.

After I gave up new items on skye-terrier, willows and gloves (my former posting to the N-List came out unsigned by accident), I located the lorgnon, actually a "lorgnette" in Chapter 10 (page 202) traveling from Mayne Reid, Proust, Tolstoy, Chekhov. It disappeared in a pier at Yalta. The story of the Headless Horseman pungently describes VN's relationship with his permanently charging cousin Yuri,their adolescent sexual reveries and Yuri's tragic, almost "headless", death.

*: The use of tryptich (Shade) and triptych (Kinbote) is an editorial mistake, or something done with a purpose? Kinbote mentions Shade's study in his commentary to line 80 ("my bedroom") and brings his bedroom and mirror (with a mirror my by mirrored Sudarg), but altering the spelling that suggest "three" (tri). Lots of mirror-room for speculations.

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