NABOKV-L post 0007139, Sat, 23 Nov 2002 11:27:39 -0800

Fw: reply to Mr Brown Pale Fire Hazel
reply to Mr Brown
----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Saturday, November 23, 2002 9:45 AM
Subject: reply to Mr Brown

Dear Mr Brown,

The stanza serves to point up Hazel's "outsiderness." The term roommate is casual collegiate terminology like coed. Casual for Shade, who, as an oldster, is separated from student life. As casual as the use of the term would be to a Timofey Pnin, who had long ceased to be too much aware of students on the campus.

Yes, you are right. That is one possible interpretation. But that's to forget that Nabokov is a master of deception, self-admittedly so. I don't think the reader can ever go wrong asking if he is being deceived.

This is why Shade's choice of the word roommate has been accepted without question for 40 years. Not because millions of readers around the world have missed a clue to Shade's presumed philandering nature.

At the risk of seeming presumptuous, I do think millions of readers (or certainly thousands) have missed many clues to Shade's second nature. Perhaps no one reader can see everything that is potentially in this novel. I, for example, cannot detect Hazel's posthumous influences no matter how hard I look.

Carolyn Kunin