NABOKV-L post 0017875, Tue, 10 Mar 2009 00:17:08 -0300

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Re: THOUGHTS: More bits of S in K, and vice-versa]
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S. Soloviev: ... VN was clever enough and knew well enough american academic life to make future discussions around his own works part of the plot. He knew that the subject of split personality and its Freudian overtones enchant infinitely the university professors, researchers and ph.d. students in humanities, and with perfect precision of chess composer put into text well measured hints that never will be sufficient to give a definite solution ...
J.Aisenberg:...the Double personality concept [...] means the book is filled with so much cheating; there's no confrontation scene that would pull everything together, since the whole idea is something you have to entirely construct of clues, which in my opinion is pretty ineffective story telling: a novel filled with arty intentions rather than dramatic structure[... ]one,why with all the clues did we become so emotionally involved with such shiny artifice; and two, we laugh at how compelling the idea of seeing correspondences all over the place is, yet in spite of ourselves continue to see them proliferate...
JM: K's Foreword (i.e "in a glass, darkly") and Shade's vision "through the dark glass" of his study...

JM: Sergei, the subject of split personality has no Freudian overtones ( he wrote about "The Splitting of the Ego") and I don't think VN needed Freud at this point. J.Aisenberg, you raise a curious issue concerning theories that demand "too much cheating" and bad story telling.So, still as a self-appointed devil's advocate, I suggest another correspondence. It may be flimsy or whimsy but it provides another perspective on "cheating": use of deliberate nonsense.
In Pale Fire there are mirrors ("in a glass", Sudarg of Bokay and a tryptich suggestive of Hazel's inversions and the Botkin/Kinbote symmetry). But there is "through a glass" as well, operating as a reflecting mirror and as a shiny transparent surface. It is when we find a sudden change from summer into winter and this, right in the opening lines of the Poem ( doesn't Kinbote mention something to this effect, that Shade is writing in the summer but turns to wintery recollections? )

I was reminded of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There [...] As Wiki briefly informs: "although it makes no reference to the events in the earlier book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland , the themes and settings of Through the Looking-Glass make it a kind of mirror image of Wonderland: the first book begins outdoors [...] uses frequent changes in size as a plot device, and draws on the imagery of playing cards; the second opens indoors on a snowy, wintry night exactly six months later [...] uses frequent changes in time and spatial directions as a plot device, and draws on the imagery of chess. In it, there are many mirror themes, including opposites, time running backwards... "
The correspondence is slight (and may have been explored already by Nabokov-Carroll specialists, certainly not my case).
My intention here is to point out that there is a choice bt. seeing VN's ploys as "cheating" in one dimension, or as "nonsense" in the other.
There is a "split" , although it is not related to humpty-dumpty personalities, nor to different novels, but through the confrontation bt Shade's life (in the poem itself), and Kinbote's own (in Semberland.)
According to Kinbote Shade can shuffle his index-cards to produce a poem, while he prefers chess-moves himself ( Solux Rex).

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