NABOKV-L post 0008879, Sat, 8 Nov 2003 12:57:41 -0800

Subject
pynchon-l-digest V2 #3643 (fwd) PALE FIRE
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Date: Saturday, November 08, 2003 2:00 AM -0600
From: pynchon-l-digest <owner-pynchon-l-digest@waste.org>
To: pynchon-l-digest@waste.org
Subject: pynchon-l-digest V2 #3643


pynchon-l-digest Saturday, November 8 2003 Volume 02 : Number 3643






Date: 07 Nov 2003 13:29:39 -0500
From: Paul Mackin <paul.mackin@verizon.net>
Subject: Re: NPPF--commentary--615--two tongues

On Fri, 2003-11-07 at 10:43, Ghetta Life wrote:
>
> > From: Paul Mackin <paul.mackin@verizon.net>
> > About all I notice here is that the English-Russian combination is the
> > only one mentioned more than once and that "American and European" is
> > not a combination of languages. One's most immediate thought might be
> > that K is, like Nabokov, a Russian and European living in America and
> > writing in English. Good a guess as any I think.
>
> Kinbote thinks the "two tongues" refers to language, but I can't see why
> Shade would make this reference. It seems to me that two tongues evokes
> a sinister image, like a forked tongue of a serpent, one fork for
> invading each lung. Very sexual overtones in this image too.
>
> Ghetta
>

That's a possibility.

Also, can the stanza in which the phrase occurs be an anticipation on
Shade's part of Kinbote's final days? Old man dying in a shabby motel
room, trying to put together an apologia pro vita sua. Formulating his
thoughts in the two languages he is most conversant in, the two tongues
having the further sense or implication that he is engaged to some
degree in deception.

------------------------------

Date: 07 Nov 2003 13:32:49 -0500
From: Paul Mackin <paul.mackin@verizon.net>
Subject: NPPF--commentary--691--the attack

The note coordinates events in the poem with events in the Zembla story.
Shade's heart attack (which as we might have gathered from the poem
wasn't much of a medical event) occurs at the same time as the escaping
king's arrival in America and his being taken in tow by Odon's mother
Sylvia O'Donnell who has set him up at Wordsmith University in a
teaching job and a house next door to his favorite American poet By now
we are as used to K/C's putting down all women as we are to his
unfailing interest in attractive young men. He repays his benefactress
by unnecessarily calling attention to an alleged drinking problem. The
servant who brings him a drink however is a "jeune beaute, as Marcel
would have put it." (sounds more like something Proust would have had
the Baron de Charlus say about Charlie Morel). Sylvia helpfully warns
that the servant is hetero and further that K/C had better exercise a
fair degree of caution with this sort of thing in New Wye.Sylvia departs
leaving K/C to sightsee and visit museums before eventually preceding
on to Wordsmith. where he finds Shade fortunately recovered from the
illness but dismayingly uninformed as to his new neighbor's existence.

------------------------------

Date: 07 Nov 2003 13:54:11 -0500
From: Paul Mackin <paul.mackin@verizon.net>
Subject: NPPF--commentary--697--conclusive destination

This note returns us to the Gradus section of the Zembla story.

Gradus arrives at the Azure Coast city of Nice on July 19 just as Shade
is setting his second near-death experience to verse at the end of Canto
Three. Although the color azure has been associated with that event
(opening lines), I don't recall any particular blueness present in the
death that Kinbote wants us to believe is to be at the hand of Gradus.
If the ". . . . more/Conclusive destination.. . ." for Shade would be
actual rather than seeming death, Gradus's stay at Nice is (as far as
this note is concerned) only a rather uneventful waypoint along that
same road.

Hotel Lazuli reminds us of the azure colored semi-precious stone, Lapis
lazuli. A lot a cheap hotels in Nice at that time. (maybe still)

Also there is a bird connection. The lazuli bunting or lazuli
finch--partly blue.

Gradus is the antithesis of Kinbote in preferring a noisy environment.

Ca distrait -- it was distracting (as from one's troubles)

The "man in the bottle-green jacket" serves among other things as
revenge on the young faculty member at Wordsmith (called Emerald) who is
so abusive of Kinbote.

The two young tourists--we learn who the green jacketed man and what the
two tourists (whom G vaguely recognizes) are up to in the next note,
which has been assigned to someone else.


Gordon's bravura piece ?

Is the spread eagled figure the King?

Anyway G learns that Disa is not in residence at Villa Disa

------------------------------

Date: 07 Nov 2003 14:08:19 -0500
From: Paul Mackin <paul.mackin@verizon.net>
Subject: NPPF--commentary--727-728--No, Mr. Shade . . . Just half a shade

The note is a fairly straight forward appreciation of Shade's ability as
a poet.


Reminds me of that business of Shade being his own cancellation.
All the excellence of Shade goes into his poetry leaving only the
decrepit unassuming parts behind in his physical person.

Shade in writing his poem is writing his own death as stanza by stance
Gradus is drawing nearer.

Isn't this something autobiographical novelists and poets can in a sense
be said to do?

Date: Fri, 07 Nov 2003 19:30:13 +0000
From: "Ghetta Life" <ghetta_outta@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: NPPF--commentary--615--two tongues

> From: Paul Mackin <paul.mackin@verizon.net>
>
> Also, can the stanza in which the phrase occurs be an anticipation on
> Shade's part of Kinbote's final days? Old man dying in a shabby motel
> room, trying to put together an apologia pro vita sua. Formulating his
> thoughts in the two languages he is most conversant in, the two tongues
> having the further sense or implication that he is engaged to some
> degree in deception.

Absolutely, but this would be impossible for Shade to have anticipated,
right? As I noted last week, the stanza before this one refers to a king
being led to stand before a firing squad, which also has parallels with the
person of Kinbote's "real" identity as the fugitive King. This however
could be explained as the result of Kinbote's many conversations with
Shade. The only plausible explanation of the motel-room fate coicidence
would be that Kinbote has imitated the poems image with his choosing it as
the place to write from. As I said last week, this lends credence to the
theory that Shade has made up Kinbote, and was never shot, but this
scenario goes pretty close to saying that Nabakov made them all up.

Ghetta

___________

------------------------------

Date: 07 Nov 2003 14:42:17 -0500
From: Paul Mackin <paul.mackin@verizon.net>
Subject: NPPF--commentary--734-735--probably...wobble...limp blimp ...

Actually the note refers to lines 734-736

Is this Kinbote's error or N's or the proofreader's?

Contrapuntal pyrotechnics

Contrapuntal in the sense of the interweaving of contrasting elements.
Text vs texture. Logically arranged narratives involving cause and
effect (binary thinking) contrasted with seeming non-sequiturs that are
yet uncannily related.

Does Kinbote actually "get" Shade's meaning?


But all at once it dawned on me that this
Was the real point, the contrapuntal theme:
Just this: not text, but texture: not the dream
But topsy-turvical conincidence,
Not flimsy nonsense, but a web of sense.

etc.


Date: 07 Nov 2003 15:34:05 -0500
From: Paul Mackin <paul.mackin@verizon.net>
Subject: Re: NPPF--commentary--615--two tongues

On Fri, 2003-11-07 at 14:30, Ghetta Life wrote:
>
> > From: Paul Mackin <paul.mackin@verizon.net>
> >
> > Also, can the stanza in which the phrase occurs be an anticipation on
> > Shade's part of Kinbote's final days? Old man dying in a shabby motel
> > room, trying to put together an apologia pro vita sua. Formulating his
> > thoughts in the two languages he is most conversant in, the two
> > tongues having the further sense or implication that he is engaged to
> > some degree in deception.
>
> Absolutely, but this would be impossible for Shade to have anticipated,
> right? As I noted last week, the stanza before this one refers to a king
> being led to stand before a firing squad, which also has parallels with
> the person of Kinbote's "real" identity as the fugitive King. This
> however could be explained as the result of Kinbote's many conversations
> with Shade. The only plausible explanation of the motel-room fate
> coicidence would be that Kinbote has imitated the poems image with his
> choosing it as the place to write from.

Yes, this is plausible--whether or not the purported noisy motel abode
of K actually exists or is a further embedded fiction within a fiction..

As I said last week, this lends credence to the theory that
> Shade has made up Kinbote, and was never shot, but this scenario goes
> pretty close to saying that Nabakov made them all up.

Yes to both but we still have the question of what exactly did N make
up? Did he leave open the possibility of precognition and such. Or of a
still viable Hazel dwelling in an afterlife from which she can introduce
ideas into people's heads. Not that the later would necessarily explain
the motel room coincidence.

I'm one of those amateurs whom Boyd remarks upon as being repelled by a
single-author explanation. Not much taken with the supernatural either.
Anyway . . .

P.
NABOKV-L