NABOKV-L post 0006831, Sat, 21 Sep 2002 10:32:25 -0700

Subject
Fw: reply to Malign D
Date
Body
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carolyn Kunin" <chaiselongue@earthlink.net>
To: "Vladimir Nabokov Forum" <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> ---------------- Message requiring your approval (105
lines) ------------------
> Dear Malign D,
>
> I think I understand your question (but not completely). One of the
> problems with Kinbote/Botkin is that neither would be hired to teach (even
> at Waindell College). Another thing to remember when dealing with a
complex
> riddle is to weed out the false clues. You are right, Botkin adds nothing,
> leads nowhere & is therefore probably a false clue. The othr russian
> professor is Professor Pnin, a wonderful character from a wonnderful
earlier
> novel by Nabokov, which I think you will enjoy reading.
>
> Carolyn Kunin
>
> > From: "D. Barton Johnson" <chtodel@cox.net>
> > Reply-To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> > Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2002 14:22:41 -0700
> > To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
> > Subject: Fw: Questions about Pale Fire
> >
> > EDITOR's NOTE. There is a very substantial literature on these matter.
There
> > is in my book WORLDS IN REGRESSION a chapter dealing specifically with
> > names, anagrams, and levels analysis in PF. The book is long out of
print
> > but I noticed some dealer has a used copy for $95.
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: <MalignD@aol.com>
> > To: <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> > Sent: Tuesday, September 17, 2002 11:46 AM
> > Subject: Questions about Pale Fire
> >
> >
> >>
> >> ----------------- Message requiring your approval (55
> > lines) ------------------
> >> I have two points/questions to raise about Pale Fire:
> >>
> >> One: the idea that Kinbote is Botkin has always seemed to me a
> > particularly
> >> clumsy one, an extra veil that adds little to further interest in the
> >> question of identity. (I.e., if Kinbote is Botkin, who cares, in that
we
> >> know nearly nothing of Botkin?)
> >>
> >> The reference to Botkin in the note to line 894, in which
Kinbote/Botkin
> > is
> >> supposedly established, has never seemed to me persuasively argued to
make
> >> that connection.
> >>
> >> Professor Pardon says: "I was under the impression that you were born
in
> >> Russia, and that your name was a kind of anagram of Botkin or Botkine?"
> >>
> >> If Kinbote was, in actuality, Botkin, the Professor wouldn't have asked
if
> >> his name was "a kind of anagram" for Botkin; his name would be Botkin.
> >>
> >> Kinbote replies, "You are confusing me with some refugee from Nova
> > Zembla";
> >> i.e., with someone else.
> >>
> >> Pardon then says, "You do know Russian, though?. I think I heard you,
the
> >> other day, talking to--what's his name--oh, my goodness ..."
> >>
> >> Shade says: "Sir, we all find it difficult to attack that name ..."
> >>
> >> Professor Hurley: "Think of the French word for 'tire': punoo."
> >>
> >> So it would seem there is "someone els," another Russian-speaking
scholar
> > at
> >> New Wye, other, that is, than Kinbote/Botkin, one with a tricky name.
Let
> > us
> >> assume, for the moment that it is this other scholar that the addled
> > Pardon
> >> was referring to when he spoke about "a kind of anagram." If we allow
> > this,
> >> then Botkin would seem to be just another scholar at the university of
no
> >> more consequence than Pardon. But then, why does he, Botkin, appear in
> > the
> >> Index? (Why does he appear in the novel?)
> >>
> >> I suggest, with some trepidation, that Nabokov is a "kind of" anagram
for
> >> Botkin or Botkine and a name many have difficulty attacking (are unsure
> > how
> >> to pronounce), that Nabokov is the other Russian-speaking scholar
lurking
> > in
> >> the shadows of his own book.
> >>
> >> Which leaves the question as to why, if this were the case
> > (Botkin/Nabokov),
> >> the wrong name, (V. Botkin, not V. Nabokov) appears in the Index. This
> > might
> >> reasonably be attributed to Kinbote's malevolence and jealousy, taken
out
> > not
> >> only in citing the wrong name, but a wrong name that means, variously,
> >> "maggot," shoemaker," "stiletto," and "big-bellied."
> >>
> >> Two: One obvious meaning of the (novel's) title Pale Fire would seem
to
> > be
> >> Kinbote's moon as thief to Shade's sun. But Shakespeare specifically
> >> mentions three thieves, sun, moon, and sea, each stealing from the
other.
> > I
> >> wonder if anyone has any thoughts about this, whether there might be a
> >> replication of this three-part circle of thievery within the novel and
who
> >> might the third thief (with Kinbote and Shade) be.
> >>
> >> Thank you all for your patience. I would welcome any comments.
> >>
> >>
>