NABOKV-L post 0018234, Fri, 24 Apr 2009 17:55:05 -0300

Re: AFTERTHOUGHTS: Plato in Pale Fire

David Powelstock [to JM: wouldn't Plato's role towards Socrates, in the "Symposium," be somehow similar to Boswell/Johnson and Kinbote/Shade?] I would say that Kinbote's orbit around Shade better reflects that of Alcibiades around Socrates.

JM: I planned to indicate the relation bt. Kinbote's creation of "Pale Fire" and Plato's "Symposium". In the latter dialogues and scenery are used to present Socrates and his ideas about love, wisdom and eternity through Plato's rendering.
Otherwise I agree with you that Kinbote's fascination with old Shade's "hidden treasures" reflects that of Alcibiades circling the Socratic "agalma".

I also planned to note that the various speeches in the Symposium ( Aristophanes, Agathon, Alcibiades, Diotima,Socrates...) indicate the interconnection between the comic and tragic dimensions, as we can also discern in "Pale Fire" (this is one of the aspects taken up by James Twiggs: the satirical element associated to drama) when we imagine that Shade sometimes writes like Aristophanes and Agathon addressing Socrates...
Shade (not Kinbote) wrote about "a hereafter none can verify" and "future lyres, the talks/ With Socrates and Proust in cypress walks" and remember that Socrates believed in immortality and described paradisical infinite talks in cypress walks.
(perhaps Proust would enhance the former's "abstract themes" by adding individual and detailed memory of the past to the platonic paradise).
I know very little about Plato, Socrates and speak no Greek. Perhaps my original suggestion is misplaced and my role, in this discussion, shall lead me into Agathon's "nichtigkeit" (nullity) - but I don't think so : ) , not yet.

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