NABOKV-L post 0007024, Tue, 5 Nov 2002 09:09:15 -0800

Fw: reply to Nick Grundy re Pale Fire puzzle
reply to Nick Grundy re Pale Fire puzzle
----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Tuesday, November 05, 2002 8:48 AM
Subject: reply to Nick Grundy re Pale Fire puzzle

This reminds me of the comment in 'Strong Opinions': "What I would welcome
> at the close of a book of mine is a sensation of its world receding in the
> distance and stopping somewhere there suspended afar like a picture in a
> picture". The picture-in-a-picture seems to suggest that the best the
> reader can do is to come up with a series of interim solutions, with the
> ultimate solution forever delayed. Regardless, I'm not sure this is
> entirely consistent with the idea of an author creating a puzzle without
> any solutions, nor a puzzle with a single solution; it might suggest an
> authorial intention which is to undermine the importance of authorial
> intention. Or at least, it might if you read it as: my intention is to
> produce a book in which it is impossible to distinguish my intention.
> That sounds like a circular argument, but it may well be a spiral.
> Yours,
> Nick.

Dear Mr Grundy,

But isn't Pale Fire different? It does seem to me to be a puzzle, at least I never found the novel of the slightest interest until I approached it as a puzzle. Then it became very interesting.

Carolyn Kunin

p.s. There are many things I don't understand, among which are

1) Mr Nguyen's argument

2) Shade's "texture not text" idea (several people have tried to explain this concept to me to no avail) and

3) an author whose intent is to write a book whose intent is impossible to discern. There are of course some writers (French, I think) who write like this, but I don't see much point to reading them.

I'm beginning to think I had better give up Nabokov too and go back to the 18th and 19th centuries where I belong.