NABOKV-L post 0017881, Tue, 10 Mar 2009 12:40:04 -0700

Re: THOUGHTS: More bits of S in K, and vice-versa]

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.)
J. Aisenberg: this is exactly what I think I meant. In Mary McCarthy's review of the novel (much of which Nabokov rejected) "A Bolt from the Blue", leaving aside most of the interpretations, one of the things she noticed, possibly one of the things which inspires so much interpretation, is that the characters in Kinbote's Zembla, those in the academic real world of Kinbote's American suburban life, and elements of Shade's poem, all seem have echoes and correspondences with each other. McCarthy's view was that Kinbote's paranoia about his real life inspired Zemblan delusions, and that the novel's "real" story was the way the layers of these delusions worked. What I was referring to specifically was the "mountain" "fountain" mix up Shade writes of, when he momentarily died and saw an after-life mountain, then came across a newspaper psychic who also referred to, he hoped, this mountain. Sadly, humorously, it turned out to be a misprint--a "fountain"
was what the woman had seen, not a "mountain". As far as Shade goes, the mix up doesn't change things. That's because the urge to find that magical proof through a correspondence of visions derives from a need in mankind both ridiculous and divine--the same need that drives Kinbote to appropriate Shade's poem; Nabokov to translate Pushkin; a critic to search for meanings; Humbert to Solipsize Lolita. And remember this "mountain" "fountain" mix up has echoes all throughout N.'s English output: for instance in The Real Life Of Sebastian Knight, when at the end of the novel V. rushes to Sebastian's deathbed, he spends a few meaningful moments with Sebastain in a dark hospital room, only to discover the next day that he was visiting the wrong man, his brother was already dead. And that echoed Sebastian's trip to a hotel where his mother had died, which seemed so meaningful to him, until he discovered that his mother had actually wasted away at
a different hotel in a different Blauberg I believe. These mix ups where one's highest hopes and feelings are frustrated, only to somehow irrationally reinforce them comes back over and over.

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