NABOKV-L post 0015729, Thu, 29 Nov 2007 17:26:58 -0800

Kunin to Twiggs : Thank you, sir.
> Some wench's abject thirst to quench

> And yet the major critics,at least the ones I've read--from Field
> and Stegner
> and right up to Boyd--have passed over the lines in silence. -Jim
> Twiggs

Dear Jim,

Thank you, sir. You've fleshed out some of the suspicions I had but
couldn't quite manage to - - hm hm - - whatever.

It is clear that something sexual (at least) is very wrong with
Shade. It never has ceased to amaze me that those who know this novel
so well can continue to ignore the obvious discrepancy of these and
other lines. In another day and age sexual prudery could have been
blamed for the ashamed reluctance. But no one here seems to quake
before the hyper-sexuality of Ada, so why such ignorance persistante
when it comes to John Shade?

How can it be that someone like innocent old no-sex-before-marriage
John Shade even knows about such a thing as cunnilingus? This is
before "Everything you wanted to know about sex but were afraid to
ask" and waaaaay before Dr Ruth after all. In 1965 I had to explain
to my mother what homosexuality was - - she had heard of it but was
afraid to ask what it meant - - even of her husband who was a
physician. I don't think she was particularly prudish or ignorant but
she didn't know. My generation has been unusually sexually well-
educated, some might even say to the point of corruption. But Shade
is of an earlier generally more innocent period, so why isn't he

It's really been very difficult for me to understand the refusal by
some of our more illustrious members to deal with this really rather
obvious dissonance. Hell, no one on the list has been willing to deal
with it!

Carolyn Kunin

Search the archive:
Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors:,
Visit Zembla:
View Nabokv-L policies: