NABOKV-L post 0017930, Sat, 14 Mar 2009 13:41:39 -0300

Carolyn Kunin [ James Twiggs: I stubbornly resist all totalizing, only-I-have-the-key interpretations of Pale Fire...marching to the tune of a Gradus right this minute.]I wonder if Nabokov meant it to be so hard to find the solution. I can only surmise that he really didn't care. However I am heartened to know that I am not the only person to have found this solution[...] I believe Martin Gardner could have solved it fairly easily[...] I am not all that bright (IQ <120) and I think it took me four or maybe even five total readings. Someone truly brilliant could probably do it in two.

JM: I was ready to give in to Gradus, but I found out that there is life after death after all!
Carolyn unearthed (should I say unaethered?) my past L-posting on a Magritte painting, in connection with Gradus, his umbrella and black hat.
She added a few wikisnippets on its title " la Golconda". It seems to have everything to do with vampires ( the good ones, I mean, not the Vsleslavs).
Just like my grandkid Juliana's recent passion for a vampire named Edward ( - and he is..."a vegetarian", at least as vampires go), following a best-selling trilogy by Stephenie Meyer* and the "Twilight" movie, directed by Catherine Hardwick. I also read about Chris Costner Sizemore and her books, following the success of Joan Woodward in the Eve-movie: "I'm Eve" and "A mind of my own", where she confesses she has had not only three, but twenty different personalities.God bless Hollywood.

A.Sklyarenko switches from "Pushkin to Tyutchev, author of the short poem Bezumie ("Madness", 1830)." in which he speaks of the shock he expierenced when hearing the skylark...The bird's voice stunned the poet's soul like a horrible laughter of madness: Kak bezum'ya smekh uzhasnyi / On vsyu dushu mne potryas." It's interesting that VN seldom (if ever) mentioned Virginia Woolf. The birds she could hear sang in Greek. When switching over to England, A.S. adds: "Shelley's incandescent soul" is mentioned in Shade's poem The Nature of Electricity (see Kinbote's note to l. 347). On the other hand, the title of one of Shades' books of poetry, Hebe's Cup, seems to refer to the last stanza of Tyutchev's poem Vesennyaya groza ("The Spring Thunderstorm", 1828) that mentions yet a third bird, the eagle," to remind us that Shade's parents were ornithologists, Sybil's maiden name was Irondell, the ashen waxwing and much more.

Piers Smith: Truffling for meanings isn't a bad metaphor for what hermeneuts do[...] give birth to others or end up hobbling around on zimmer frames. And what Nabokov intended need not be very important anyway. As well as being a profoundly unfashionable approach to textual curiosities, the search for an author in PF, or any other narrative, does the reader a terrible disservice. In this case, the author / reader pairing *within* the text strikes me-another reader-as being an accurate reflection of what is going on outside it. No end to what we can come up with. At the moment, I like the Pushkin translation parody idea best.

JM: Piers Smith notes that the author/reader pairing within the an accurate reflection of what is going on outside it. Split-readers, I suppose. And yet, VN's parodying himself in a Pushkin translation parody seems to me quite unlikely, although equally entertaining. Why do we need to come up with an end when literary after-life can be such fun?


*- "Breaking Dawn", the last in the trilogy, is not yet available in Portuguese. Juliana is successfully learning English because Meyer returns to the same sentences over and over, with its ancillary "gasped, groaned, muttered," and, as she remembered the same lines in the other two in Portuguese, it became a piece of pie. No such luck awaits her with Nabokov, though.

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