NABOKV-L post 0017262, Sun, 2 Nov 2008 20:56:57 -0200

Re: THOUGHTS: Pale Fire timeline and Kinbote's commentary
JF [answering: Charles Kinbote used the same emblem as did Sebastian Knight in VN's former novel. How do you interpret this?] Chess was one of Nabokov's main interests, and provides convenient "logos" ...I'm afraid I don't see any more than that.
[answering: Do you think he was lying in the foreword and on his commentaries?] Previously, I felt sure that large amounts of the foreword and notes were his delusions. Zembla, for instance. Given that, it's hard to tell whether he's lying too... I'd say that a great deal of it--at least--is not supposed to be fictionally "real".[...]Does this tell us something about Shade's mental health? I don't see it. But then such parallels between scenes are the kind of thing I usually don't see. All this assumes the events "really happen", which I've just been arguing we can't rely on.

JM:I gather you don't find any particular point in this setting side by side both TRLSK's narrator (and quasi-'usurper') and PF's commentator ( and 'usurper') by their having chosen a black chess-piece as a "logos." Indeed, it is a curiosity that seems to lead nowhere. Just as I suddenly realized that very few character-names chosen by VN have initials with M or bear an "m" anywhere else (Gerald Emerald, Maud, Marina, Mary and Humbert are some of the few - not counting the anagrams of the Darkbloom kind). This "m" rarity seems totally unintentional and is probably insignificant.

When I asked about the lie I was wondering in relation to Kinbote's various references to his trip to Cedarn, but not in general - although delusional people can also lie, too. What really happened in PF, for me, is the materiality of a 999-line poem.

PS: Another sentence that suggests the Venerable Bede's parable about the swallow that irrupts from darkness into a lighted warm room, crosses it and proceeds into another cold darkness (connected by P.Meyer to Pale Fire, also found in Ada, TRLSK and is archive-googable elsewhere) to add to the collection, now from VN's short-story Time and Ebb:
"they have vanished like that flock of swans which passed with a mighty swish of multitudinous wings one spring night about Knights Lake in Maine, from the unknown into the unknown." (Knopf, p.582)

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