JM: Carolyn wonders about "what is an
our". It's certainly not ours, but theirs, at least Kinbote's and
his other walking shadows.
I was wondering about the latter: does Kinbote
refer to the spy-ring? to the "souls" in Hades? In his solitary confinement at
Cedarn, who else was he evoking?
The matter of "two distinct corporeal entities" is
baffling enough. Carolyn believes that "Shade lives on, flies on as
Kinbote", ie, they are one with a ghostly third, like in the
Probably this is also why she is interested in the
subject of a repressed "homosexuality", as it has
been discerned by Nabokov in J&H ( we'd have Kinbote and
Gradus as the repressed faces of John Shade).
J.Aisenberg kinda sees Kunin's idea but, like SK-B, he
returns to the two distinct corporeal entities, fictionalized by one brain
In J&H the issue is further complicated: two characters share the
same body - but this single body suffers regular metamorphosis that
force it to grow or to shrink, sort of like the incredible Hulk or, in a
softer version, like Alice in Wonderland.
In PF, following C.Kunin's hypothesis, the two characters that share
the same body either shrink, hobble, fatten, love a woman, hate salads and
fruit, shave off facial growths, get old and grey...or, grow
tall, lean, young, hairy, are vegetarian, play ping-pong, love
boys (the change must be induced by imbibing
Probably the body that Gradus, Kinbote and Shade share is the
written word (VN's): even in pre-computer times it is possible to determine
if they are to be seen in bold or italic, in sizes 10 or
SKB: [...]we find, in the text, Shade
and Kinbote, as two distinct corporeal entities, two clearly delineated
characters, both, at various points in the “surface plot,” interacting side by
side, and going about their separate ways.
CK: [...] in order to fool the
reader into accepting Shade and Kinbote as " two distinct corporeal entities "
he shows them in scenes in which they appear to interact in
J.Aisenberg: I can kind of see Kunin's
idea [...]a similar sort of delusion worked itself out in Despair, in which it's
narrator Hermann Karlovich thinks that a bum he stumbles across is an exact
lookalike of himself. By the end we find he's the only one in the world who can
see the resemblance [...]I'm curious, what would be the point of that sort of
double-personality game--is it a post modern joke on readers who lose themselves
in the illusion of discreet characters that simply derive from one brain, or is
it just a fun stunt?
JM: Kinbote prefaces: "Nay, I shall even assert (as our shadows still walk without us)
that there remained to be written only one line of the poem (namely verse 1000)
which would have been identical to line 1[...] and damn that music. Knowing
Shade's combinational turn of mind...I cannot imagine that he intended to deform
the faces of his crystal by meddling with its predictable
growth." [...] with a mysterious "our shadows still walk without
us," since John Shade is dead ( is he indeed, Carolyn?) - who comprises
Kinbote's OUR? As it happens when we write about "alternatives" (only
two can be cited), using "either" in a sentence is equally limiting?
Kunin: Did I say that? I think I said, and certainly meant to say, that
Shade, like Hodge, is definitely NOT SHOT and that he does live on, fly on as
Kinbote. The question of "alternatives" could be a confusion for the word
alternates (or alters) meaning alternate personalities - - is this what you
meant? What's an OUR?