NABOKV-L post 0017877, Tue, 10 Mar 2009 13:44:37 -0300

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[NABOKOV-L] Through the Looking Glass, a Post-Scriptum
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PS to: (In the entire novel) 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), to add: .. plus Shade's life ( through Kinbote's eyes).

It is very difficult to read Shade's poem without allowing Kinbote to intervene. Would Nabokov have planned such a demand: that the reader confronts the poem ( it offers its own butterfly-wing symmetries), with no additional creams and lubrication? An exercise in "forgetfulness" to access "the greatest fictional poet"?

When Shade writes "I lived on..in the reflected sky" ...does he mean:
(a)" I lived on in the sky (the original sky, also reflected in a glass);
(b) "I lived on as a part of the feigned remoteness* in a reflected sky?"


Just to keep the images fresh I bring up the first lines in Canto I:
1 I was the shadow of the waxwing slain

By the false azure in the windowpane;

I was the smudge of ashen fluff - and I

Lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky.

And from the inside, too, I'd duplicate

Myself, my lamp, an apple on a plate:

Uncurtaining the night, I'd let dark glass

Hang all the furniture above the grass,

And how delightful when a fall of snow

10 Covered my glimpse of lawn and reached up so

As to make chair and bed exactly stand

Upon that snow, out in that crystal land!

.................................................................................................................

17 And then the gradual and dual blue

As night unites the viewer and the view.









* I couldn't resist to add Kinbote's commentary to lines 131-132

...Today, when the "feigned remoteness" has indeed performed its dreadful duty, and the poem we have is the only "shadow" that remains, we cannot help reading into these lines something more than mirrorplay and mirage shimmer. We feel doom, in the image of Gradus, eating away the miles and miles of "feigned remoteness" between him and poor Shade. He, too, is to meet, in his urgent and blind flight, a reflection that will shatter him.



In Kinbote's eyes the poem is the "I" ("shadow"), Shade and Gradus "the ashen fluff" and Kinbote "lives on" until he meets another reflection that shall shatter him?

Really, why did Shade write " I was.. I was.. I lived on...I'd let"- using the past tense? Who is the doomed but still living poet?

And...does this confirm M.R and C.Kunin's idea?

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