NABOKV-L post 0018432, Sun, 5 Jul 2009 13:42:39 -0300

[NABOKOV-L] Wakes, anniversaries and birthdays: a game of worlds
Amid news about tempests of sand in Bagdad and Michael Jackson's wake in Neverland, I remembered that today we also celebrate the birthdays of John Shade, Charles Kinbote and Gradus.

Here is a quiz recovered from the internet (at

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
Study Guide

Pale Fire Quiz 1
1. Where is Charles Kinbote when he writes his commentary to "Pale Fire"?
New Wye
2. What is the "crystal land"?
New Wye
3. When does Charles the Beloved's rule as king end?
4. What is Charles Kinbote's other identity?
Charles X
Pius X
John Shade
5. When is John Shade's birthday?
December 24
August 7
July 4
July 5
6. Which of the following characters lives in exile?
Sybil Shade
Jacques D'Argus
Charles Kinbote
7. Who allegedly stars in "The Case of the Reversed Footprints"?
Alfred Hitchcock
Hercule Poirot
Sherlock Holmes
John Shade
8. Who attempts to commit "a frozen stillicide?"
Sybil Shade
Charles X
Aunt Maud
9. Who wrote "Friends Beyond"?
Christina Rossetti
Thomas Hardy
Charles Kinbote
John Shade
10. From what text is the title of John Shade's poem, "Pale Fire," derived?
Timon of Athens
Man and Superman
Damnum Infectum
Two Gentlemen of Verona

Here is an excerpt and bonus for today's celebrations, now Boyd on Pale Fire and autobiographical transformations ( from )
"In a kind of postscript to Speak, Memory that he withheld from publication during his lifetime, and that has just been published for the centenary of his birth, Nabokov dons the mask of a reviewer of his autobiography, and writes, among amusingly disparaging comments, of the "retrospective acumen and creative concentration that the author had to summon in order to plan his book according to the way his life had been planned by unknown players of games." Shade writes his autobiographical poem in exactly the same spirit. Conscious, after the fountain-mountain confusion, that his very quest to explore the beyond makes him seem a mere toy of the gods, he derives a sense of the playfulness hidden deep in things, and feels that he can perhaps understand and participate a little in this playfulness, if only obliquely, through the pleasure of shaping his own world in verse, through playing his own game of worlds, through sensing and adding to the design in and behind his world."

There is also a reference in P. Meyer and Jeff Hoffman's article "Infinite Reflections in Nabokov's "Pal Fire": the Danish Connection
( Hans Andersen and Isak Dinesen), found through:

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