NABOKV-L post 0027151, Tue, 16 Aug 2016 15:40:57 +0300

Subject
11111 in Pale Fire
Date
Body
I notice that in the emergency telephone number dialed by Kinbote at least
twice there are five (not four) figures 1:



One night the black cat, which a few minutes before I had seen rippling down
into the basement where I had arranged toilet facilities for it in an
attractive setting, suddenly reappeared on the threshold of the music room,
in the middle of my insomnia and a Wagner record, arching its back and
sporting a neck bow of white silk which it could certainly never have put on
all by itself. I telephoned 11111 and a few minutes later was discussing
possible culprits with a policeman who relished greatly my cherry cordial,
but whoever had broken in had left no trace. (note to Line 62)



I then dialed 11111 and returned with a glass of water to the scene of the
carnage. The poor poet had now been turned over and lay with open dead eyes
directed up at the sunny evening azure. The armed gardener and the battered
killer were smoking side by side on the steps. The latter, either because he
was in pain, or because he had decided to play a new role, ignored me as
completely as if I were a stone king on a stone charger in the Tessera
Square of Onhava; but the poem was safe. (note to Line 1000)



It is said that young Gogol's penname 0000 comes from four letters o in his
name Nikolay Vasilievich Gogol-Yanovski. I suspect that the emergency number
11111 comes from five letters i in VN's full name: Vladimir Vladimirovich
Nabokov. Roman numeral I (one) corresponds to Arabic 1. Five ones make V,
the Roman numeral that corresponds to Arabic 5. On the other hand, Roman
letter V is the initial of VN's name and patronymic. Like Shade, VN's father
Vladimir Dmitrievich (in whose name and patronymic there are also five
letters i) was assassinated by a terrorist. The Cyrillic counterpart of
Roman V looks like Roman B, which is Botkin's initial. Shade's, Kinbote's
and Gradus' "real" name seems to be Vsevolod Botkin. The number of letters
in the name Vsevolod Botkin corresponds to the number of lines in a sonnet
(or in the Eugene Onegin stanza): 14. At the Lyceum Pushkin occupied Room
No. 14. Kinbote completes his work on Shade's poem and commits suicide on
Oct. 19, 1959 (the Lyceum anniversary). There is a hope that, after
Kinbote's suicide, Botkin will be "full" (i. e. one) again.



Alexey Sklyarenko


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