Jerry/Jansy: also note that chess-problemists of VN’s vintage (i.e., pre-computer graphics systems!) would certainly own a set of chess-piece-logo printing blocks and an inked pad. Using these on a blank 8 x 8 grid, you could quickly record any chess position. Each block would print a square with a piece shape. NOTE: not just the piece-logo, but the piece AND its square. There’s 24 blocks In the set, four for each of the six pieces (P, R, N, B, Q, K), e.g., white pawn on white square; white pawn on black square; black pawn on white square; black pawn on black square. Great fun! (The alternative menthod of representing chess positions in print was with 8 text strings, one for each row, e.g., P2QpnR1 = white pawn, 2 empty squares, white Queen, black pawn, black night, white rook, empty square. Less fun!).
You can see that this expands the notion of “signing” a letter with a stamped chess emblem. Four choices for a King, as the mood dictates! But, I’m left wondering why Sebastian doesn’t sign with his eponymous piece? And why not a White Knight?
Incidentally, VN would exploit in problems the amazing fact that a pawn can be promoted (on reaching the 8th row) to any piece other than King (or Pawn)! Under-informed players assume that pawns always promote to Queens. In the “artificial” world of Chess Problems (oft disdained by “real” players) Pa8 = N (pawn promoted to Knight) can be the key move.
Enough of these idle symbolic convolutions. Today we have a NEW WORLD CHESS CHAMPION. The Indian Vishy Anand has beaten the Russian Kramnik.
> Jerry Friedman responds:
> --- On Sat, 11/1/08, jansymello <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote:
>> JM [ to JF and MR}: Charles Kinbote used the same emblem as
>> did Sebastian Knight in VN's former novel.
>> How do you ( JF anbd MR) interpret this?
> Chess was one of Nabokov's main interests, and provides
> convenient "logos" for the surname Knight and for a
> delusional king (if the signers are good at drawing and, if
> you want to know my opinion, a bit affected). I'm afraid I
> don't see any more than that.