NABOKV-L post 0018362, Tue, 2 Jun 2009 15:22:30 -0300

[NABOKOV-L] [Query] Kinbote's ping-pong tables and twinnings
Does anyone know the lay-out of Kinbote's basement with a pair of ping-pong tables, or to what kind of fun and games is he alluding to when he fantasizes a third table?
Does "table tennis" indicate ping-pong?

"Another tormentor inquired if it was true that I had installed two ping-pong tables in my basement. I asked, was it a crime? No, he said, but why two? "Is that a crime?" I countered, and they all laughed." (Foreword)
"I was about to have a kind of little seminar at home followed by some table tennis, with two charming identical twins* and another boy, another boy." (Foreword)
"waiting, in certain amber-and-rose crepuscules, for a ping-pong friend, or for old John Shade."(line 334)
" at the Hurleys', to which one of my second ping-pong table partners, a pal of the Hurley boys..." (line 629)
"As to my own activities, they were I am afraid most unsatisfactory from all points of view - emotional, creative, and social. That jinxy streak had started on the eve when I had been kind enough to offer a young friend - a candidate for my third ping-pong table."(line 181)

John Shade mentions a "twinned Iris" (the flowers? a pair of eyes? Iris Acht, ie. 8?) and it seems that "twins" carry a special meaning, beside being a reference to mirror reflections and to symmetry. Curious, too, is CK's reference to twins that ends with "another boy, another boy."

Kinbote describes the structure of Shade's poem as having "two identical central parts, solid and ample, forming together with the shorter flanks twin wings of five hundred verses each" and his reference to wings has stimulated the image of a butterfly-shaped poem (focusing on its "wings", not on a "solid and ample, doubled central part").
Nevertheless, a few lines later, the analogy undergoes a shift, or a clarification. Not only does Kinbote consider now the poem like a crystal but, as it occurs during crystalization, it carries a "predictable growth," dependent on its closure with line 1000.
What did he mean by this reference to " predictable growth"?**

CK: "I cannot imagine that he intended to deform the faces of his crystal by meddling with its predictable growth." (foreword)

(I haven't yet checked P.Meyer's, B.Boyd's or D.Zimmer's annotations and solutions)

* "the White twins (nice fraternity boys accepted by the Shades)" (line 347) ???????
**I've seen "baby" crystals inside a transparent bigger piece of stone. Did he imply added growths, internal or external? It's not applicable to his commentary - I'm sure.

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