NABOKV-L post 0014282, Mon, 4 Dec 2006 22:47:01 -0500

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Jerry Friedman to Carolyn Kunin on coincidences
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Carolyn wrote:

> By the way, if I'm reading incorrectly, how can you (or anyone else)
> explain that G = C = K = S lead me, via J & H, to "kinbote"?

How about with an example of a parallel coincidence (combined
with venting one of my minor idees fixes)?

There are very few other novels that contain an index. The most
notable, I think, is /The Lord of the Rings/. If we follow
that clue, we find kinbote! Isildur refers to the One Ring, the
very center of the novel, as /weregild/ for his father. Tolkien,
as an Anglo-Saxon scholar, of course knew "kinbote" as another
way to say that.

We also find "dwarves" ("Karlik"--thanks, Alexey!), elves
(alfear), a versipel (Beorn, mentioned very briefly), the
extremely rare word "woodwose" (Tolkien uses only the second
element of this compound), and a lot of rhymed poetry of doubtful
quality. More thematically, we find an incognito pretender,
greed for the precious but not rightfully owned object, and a
sublime treatment of exiles' nostalgia.

I admit that I have no idea whether VN read /The Lord of the
Rings/. I do know that Edmund Wilson reviewed it very
unfavorably.

The only purpose in my coming up with a Tolkien-based
interpretation of /Pale Fire/ would be satire, but I would bet
that for every link to J&H you can come up with, one could
find a link to LOTR--or to many other books, but I don't
know them as well. So I have no trouble believing in such
coincidences.

Jerry Friedman apologizes for his second post of the day.

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