NABOKV-L post 0023134, Sun, 29 Jul 2012 14:43:34 +0100

Re: Shakespeare connection, part IV - Pale Fire
I’m sure that many others have noted that Prof. Nattochdog’s name puns that
of the oldest Swedish noble family: Natt Och Dag.
Allusionists will no doubt attach significance to the presence of KNIGHTS in
that family. There’s always a lurking chess piece to spice up the action.
(Hardly surprising: the pieces are named AFTER real-world counterparts!
Thereafter, any comparisons between Chess and Human Warfare are quite

To the Hurley-Burley, I offer a minority YAWN: So what?

Less boring, perhaps, is that Natt Och Dag literally echoes Cole Porter’s
1932 classic hit Night And Day, significantly written for the musical GAY
Divorce (later renamed Gay DIVORCEE). Following VN-list custom, I add that
Nabokov MUST have been familiar with the aforementioned ‘connections,’ even
though he often (teasingly?) denied such knowledge.

The tingle in my spine, re-reading Mike M’s PF extract, comes with CK’s I
once had to leave in the MIDST of a concert.
Attentive ‘Native Anglophones’ will applaud Nabokov’s brilliant choice of
the near-archaic/literary MIDST in the context of leaving a concert. ‘In the
MIDST of’ is no longer fully synonymous with ‘In the MIDDLE of.’ One leaves,
for example, an open-air concert in the MIDST of a rainstorm.
And CK actually leaves in the MIDST of a migraine attack. But CK’s ‘in the
MIDST of a CONCERT’ hints at a causal reversal. Almost, as I read it, that
the damned concert has helped trigger the migraine? At least, in the many
identity puzzles between Kinbote, Shade and ultimate creator Nabokov, there
may be a useful clue. Either VN was unaware of the potential
MIDST-of/MIDDLE-of ambiguities, or he deliberately planted a clue about CK’s
Kultur and poetic prowess.

Of the former, I would say ‘Perish the Thought.’ This is NOT based on any
general claims concerning VN’s ‘infallibility,’ as recently debated on our
List. Assertions and Opinions each carry their individual criteria for
TRUE/FALSE/UNDECIDABLE. And even in the most devoutedly EVIDENCE-BASED
domains, we see these three verdicts shift as time goes by. (Paradigm)
SHIFTS HAPPEN, as the bumper-sticker proclaims.
Being WRONG is inevitable in Science. And being OPEN to revision
(eventually!) is the essential difference between Science and Theology.
(For right/wrong, read MYdoxy/YOURDoxy.)

For Human Scientists behaving BADLY, though, fudging data, cheating over
priority claims, and driven by Nobel Fever, see
The Secret Anarchy of Science: Free Radicals, Michael Brooks, 2011

Essential reading on VN’s occasional, but fruitful, human fallibility, will
be well known to Nabokovian lepidopterists:

Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage, Peter Forbes, Yale Univ.
Press, 2009.

This gives a readable, balanced account of Nabokov’s many brilliant,
‘world-class,’ contributions, alongside his now widely-discounted view that
some forms of mimicry defy Darwinian explanations. These views are NOT
necessarily refuted by current consensus. The point of ERROR is VN
misreading the evidence (e.g., the Chinese Rhubarb example in The Gift) to
support his hypothesis. Our esteemed Dieter Zimmer receives due credit from
Forbes for tracing VN’s mistake to A E Pratt’s To the Snows of Tibet through
China (1892).

Stan Kelly-Bootle

On 27/07/2012 21:44, "Jansy" <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote:

> Mike M writes (excerpts): "Does anyone know who Paul H. Jr might be? Is there
> any connection between him and Paul Hentzner? [ ]Although it may be taken to
> refer to the man (whoever he was) who occupied this post at the time Hazel
> Shade was a student, the reader cannot be blamed for applying it to Paul H.,
> Jr., the fine administrator and inept scholar who since 1957 headed the
> English Department of Wordsmith College. We met now and then (see Foreword and
> note to line 894) but not often. The Head of the Department to which I
> belonged was Prof. Nattochdag - "Netochka" as we called the dear man.
> Certainly the migraines that have lately tormented me to such a degree that I
> once had to leave in the midst of a concert at which I happened to be sitting
> beside Paul H., Jr., should not have been a stranger's business."[ ] Now to
> the Foreword, the second alleged reference to Paul H. Jr. Given that Paul H.
> Jr is an inept scholar, by a process of elimination he appears to be the the
> "Prof. H", whose potential collaboration with "Prof. C." Charles views with
> skepticism as co-editors of Shade's manuscript. I pointed out in an earlier
> post that these "professors" allude to Heminges & Condell, the alleged
> 'editors' of Shakespeare's First Folio, who as minimally educated actors would
> have been unqualified for that task. [ ]What about Paul Hentzner, who knew
> "the names of things"? There was a real Paul Hentzner, tutor to a German
> nobleman, who visited England in 1598, right in the middle of the Shakespeare
> period [ ] In the long note to line 894, CK mentions a "visiting German
> lecturer from Oxford", so that could relate, tangentially, to Hentzner. Later
> in the note the German drifts back in: ""Strange, strange," said the German
> visitor, who by some quirk of alderwood ancestry had been alone to catch the
> eerie note that had throbbed by and was gone."[ ]. Returning to Paul
> Hentzner; could Paul H Jr be his son? Kinbote tells us that Paul (senior?)
> "pleased John Shade much better than the suburban refinements of the English
> Department." -- perhaps the kind of place where his son worked? The chronology
> is deficient given that Hentzner's wife left him in 1950 with his son,
> presumably a child. 1950 seems to be a significant date in Pale Fire."
> JM: I always thought Paul H. was Prof. Hurley. The hypothesis about Paul
> Hentzer rattles my certainties, cultivated at first through some ancient
> postings from the Pynchon list, reproduced in the VN archives.
> Carolyn Kunin has recently mentioned Eberthella (Hurley?) and, in this case,
> she may have some interesting ideas to add.
> There is the connection between Kinbote and one of the Hurley boys, a party
> and other items - which I couldn't find using the Archive Google Search (it's
> not working as well as it did in the past when I need specific items from the
> N-L Archives).
> I'm bringing up a selection, although I cannot recollect the gist of the
> matters that were being discussed at that time.
> [ ] Kinbote is more taken with the draft version, "the Head of our
> Department deemed" because it focuses attention on Paul H., Jr. (Hurley?) who
> apparently became "interested" in Kinbote's migraine headaches and later
> discounted Kinbote's ability to edit Shade's poem, going so far as to say that
> Kinbote has a "deranged mind" and suggest legal action. Also, Hurley was
> invested in writing the Shade biography before Kinbote butted in. Line 71
> commentary mentions this, too. Kinbote thinks that his own commentary will
> change Paul H's mind about Kinbote's sanity and his ability to edit the work.
> An enigmatic line ends the little section, "Southey liked a roasted rat for
> supper - which is especially comic in view of the rats that devoured his
> Bishop." This is apparently a double slam; he's referring to Paul H. eating
> crow and that he has been outmatched in the metaphoric chess game Kinbote
> thematically conjures up to keep the poem.Along those lines a question; is
> this the Bishop that the chess sophisticate "go(es) on a wild goose chase" to
> obtain while the na�ve serendipitously sees and acquires? (I can't find where
> I found that. Probably Brian Boyd's "Shade and Shape." ) But instead of eating
> crow, Kinbote has Paul H. eating a rat. Is this for "ratting" on him?"
> <
> 0&ei=wPcSUKj6N4So8gTq4IGYCg&usg=AFQjCNFuig209VM7vcFUoZTA6cDewIFJ4A>
>;7b0b960e... "
> Other entries: "Hurley's tumble-down ranch" See page 101: "[Kinbote's tutor,
> a Scotsman, used to call any old tumble-down building 'a hurley-house'" Fw:
> pynchon-l-digest V2 #3601 PALE FIRE - LISTSERV 16.0 ...
> <;f8480dfa.0310>
> <;f8480dfa> ...>
> text/html - LISTSERV 16.0 - NABOKV-L Archives
> <
> du&source=web&cd=14&ved=0CE8QFjADOAo&
> -cgi-bin%2Fwa%3FA3%3Dind0603%26L%3DNABOKV-L%26E%3D7bit%26P%3D1243672%26B%3D--%
> 26T%3Dtext%252Fhtml%3B%2520charset%3DISO-8859-1%26XSS%3D3%26header%3D1&ei=QfkS
> UKyON5HO8wTO1YHQDw&usg=AFQjCNFJH8ufp_0_UeEc5Bu1cBVFXdp0lg>
> "I do not know whether the following will stand up under further scrutiny
> (exact dates, etc.) but perhaps the most famous "serving" of rat in the cinema
> occurs in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", a film released in 1962, the same
> year that PF was published. Most will know the plot of this cult film. It
> strikes me that the interdependence of the nostalgically mad Jane (Bette
> Davis) and her wheelchair-bound (and about to be "rediscovered") actress
> sister (Joan Crawford) bears a certain relationship to the Charles
> Kinbote-John Shade duet? And in the end there is the question: Who exactly
> has driven whom mad. Did VN perhaps see the film and find the dynamic
> stimulating? I would like to think that VN saw, and enjoyed, this bizarre,
> and comical, b&w classic![ ] (Paul Hurley "chairs" the English
> Department...?) Alternatively, is it too simple to think that Southey's name
> comes to mind (in the context of a person - Hurley - behaving like a "rat")
> because Southey was Laureate (Shade) to the King (Kinbote), and had written a
> famous poem about rats pursuing a Bishop (chesspiece) to a Castle? VN does
> lead one a merry dance, doesn't he?!" David Krol text/html - LISTSERV 16.0 -
> NABOKV-L Archives
> <
> 26E%3Dquoted-printable%26P%3D1275194%26B%3D-------------------------------1143
> 749198%26T%3Dtext%252Fhtml%3B%2520charset%3DUS-ASCII%26XSS%3D3%26header%3D1&ei
> =wPcSUKj6N4So8gTq4IGYCg&usg=AFQjCNFur2RZwbw9HZtdFpIFP2OW6oKasg>
> <> ?...
> " Paul Hurley, Jr., becomes head of the English Department at Wordsmith (n.
> 376-377)." (Jerry Friedman) .
> .Fw - LISTSERV 16.0 - NABOKV-L Archives
> <
> 6&ei=wPcSUKj6N4So8gTq4IGYCg&usg=AFQjCNH_CCdAQ-TD8DM5fNpoXNp11heROA>
> <;810d88c3> ...

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors:,
Visit Zembla:
View Nabokv-L policies:
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:"

Manage subscription options: