NABOKV-L post 0018272, Wed, 29 Apr 2009 18:51:57 -0300

Re: RESPONSE to Aisenberg on Pale Fire's epigraph etc.
JM: Andrea's words render with precison what I'd tried, unsuccessfully, to express about Shade (the poem "written by the man Nabokov imagined Shade to be: admirable, flawed..."). What complicates matters, though, is that Shade himself repeats and mirrors, in his poem, what some of us consider to be VN's intention for the novel as a whole.
For example, when he pompously announces, with Eliot's intonnation (as J.Twiggs underlined): "There was a time in...Now I shall spy on beauty... Now I shall do what none has done[...] Now I shall speak of evil as none has/ Spoken before", before he matter-of-factedly proceeds to methods of composition, puny matters, various loathings ( jazz, Freud,etc). Or the ludicrous "mountain/fountain" discoveries, his conjectures about IPH...
I also forgot to consider that the Jekyl&Hyde transformation is not clean-cut but it has "shady regions" that blend one into the other...

Fran Assa describes cannibalism as a "form of prolonging the love experience". In Psychoanalysis (Klein, Abraham) babies pass through an "oral cannibalistic stage," with fantasies of that kind in relation to the mother. In Freud, the cannibalistic "incorporation" of the Father is that which establishes the "internalized law" against incest and its rules and rituals. We tend to forget that blood-relationships are not the only "facts" to characterize incest ( symbolic relationships are included, such as adopted children and step-kids in our culture, totem determinants and economic interests in totemic cultures,aso), or that parent-children incest entails in pedophilia.

Suellen's reference to Captain Scott, historical facts, fiction and myth made me remember other lines (759/62) in Pale Fire:
"If on some nameless island Captain Schmidt/ Sees a new animal and captures it,/ And if, a little later, Captain Smith/ Brings back a skin, that island is no myth." Shade's equivocal lines play with "Schmidt" and "Smith" to mock the "proof" brought about by a hunted animal skin.
The frontiers bt. dream and waking life will again be shaken in other lines about "the Shade impress."
line 881-2/884/5: "I awoke/ Safe in my bed .../ and on the damp / Gemmed turf a brown shoe lay! My secret stamp,/The Shade impress, the mystery inborn."

Excerpts from the postings:

Lolita&Artic exploration in Ada,Pale Fire...
Alexey Skylarlenko [to JM: the Pole Star as the center of his novel (or something in its "compass", but I have not his afterword to quote it now).]: "pale, pregnant, beloved, irretrievable Dolly Schiller dying in Grey Star (the capital town of the book)"
Pale Fire and M.Roth's quote:
Fran Assa: Why would cannibalism be an alimentary form of incest in particular, as unique from other kinds of "love" experiences? Lately we have the example of Jeffrey Dahmer who killed and cannibalized his lovers (all unrelated to him) only after they decided to leave him. It was his form of prolonging the love experience.
Pale Fire (J.Friedman, Aisenberg, JM, J.Twiggs)
A.Pitzer: I have often wondered if the poem is not supposed to be deliberately good or bad as much as both: a piece composed in character to be the poem written by the man that (I think) Nabokov imagined Shade to be: admirable, flawed, and striving as an artist to transcend the limits that mortality and his experience have placed on him.
Artic exploration, "The Pole", Melville
Suellen Stringer-Hye: "Nabokov too had family ties to arctic exploration and in an early play entitled "The Pole" he depicts the heroic Captain Scott and the expedition of explorers to Antarctica who perished in 1919. Humbert's expedition to the north magnetic pole was doomed from the start; the magnetic pole is not stable [...] In both Nabokov and Melville the theme of polar exploration and its associations with the exploration in literature for inner truth is portrayed as a noble quest. For both authors this quest is doomed to fail",from "The Weed Exiles the Flower, Melville and Nabokov".

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