NABOKV-L post 0027603, Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:12:00 -0800

Re: 11111 in Pale Fire
Hen Hanna, How about the three main characters of PF (not to mention their
association with 3 aspects of consciousness)? also the notion of "thetic
spirals" (the Hegelian "Thesis, antithesis, synthesis". There are the 3
masons who point out Lavender's villa, the 3 young "Yonny" masons, 3
students who point the way to Kinbote's house, the “tryptich” of the Shade
household, and more.

A clue to Nabokov’s possible interest in numerology is found in Speak
Memory, where he contrasts the number 3 to the number 4:

*“…the sharp “3” revealed to me (as described in “Perfect Past”) should
refer to the century’s age, not to mine, which was “4” and as square and
resilient as a rubber pillow”*.

Nabokov, the synesthete, relates this as a recollection from being 4 years

However, writing it much later, it’s quite possible that he had by then
adopted numerology consciously.

Jung states:

*“Four signifies the feminine, motherly, physical; three the masculine,
fatherly, spiritual”. (C.G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy p26)*

In alchemy, the 3 and the 4 are very important in the process. The process
was usually based on the quaternity (earth, air, fire, water), but, as Jung
explains, sometimes one aspect was dropped out and was only implied as an
“inferior function”. Because the masculine dynamic of three was considered
“spiritual” , as in the trinity, the 4th function of the feminine was
sometimes neglected.

I believe we can see this in what I have called the “Triune Man”, S-K-G as
the main characters of PF. There is, in fact, a fourth, if you include the
feminine, Sybil.

The alchemy axiom of Maria Prophetissa, “One becomes two, two becomes
three, and out of the third comes the One as the fourth” would apply here.
When the 4th is added, it becomes the “*tetractys*”, in Numerology the sum
of 1+2+3+4 = 10. The 10 reduces to 1+0= 1. This would hold for one with
any number of zeros, as for instance, 1000. Does the missing line in PF
indicate a failure to return to the One? A failure of transcendence?

On Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 12:44 PM, Hen Hanna <> wrote:

> In Joyce's FW, 111 is a big motif.
> I've read that VN too was into [threes].
> The best examples (that I can think of) are :
> cells, cells, cells in Pale Fire
> "Ozero, oblako, bashnya" (...) published in 1937
> ( three conjoined lakes called Omega, Ozero, and
> Zero )
> FW's 00 and VN's 000
> United Kingdom police/ambulance/fire 112 or 999
> Non-emergency police - 101;
> Non-emergency health issues - 111.
> 117 is the police emergency telephone number in Switzerland
> _________________________
> in-nabokovs-signs-symbols/
> >>> Man-made objects were to him either hives of evil,
> vibrant with a malignant activity that he alone could perceive,
> or
> gross comforts for which no use could be found in the abstract
> world. <<<
> iv vi vi ivi iv , or oooo
> oooo
> The sentence contains two branching, parallel predicate phrases, the
> first affirming meaning (albeit malignant) and the second negating it.
> What I noticed about these phrases is that the first contains a series
> of “iv” and “vi” letter combinations (in fact, fittingly, five of
> them).
> For its part, the second phrase contains nine uses of the letter “o.”
> If we read the “v” and “i” as Roman numerals, they add up to six,
> Dolinin’s sign for meaning, while the preponderance of the letter “o”
> points to the zero (nothingness).
> Is it possible that Nabokov planted these numbers in the story’s first
> paragraph as a foreshadowing of the larger story’s numerical code?
> Or have I succumbed to the “referential mania” that so afflicts the
> unfortunate son?
> On 8/16/16, Alexey Sklyarenko <> wrote:
> > 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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Contact the Editors:,,
Nabokov Studies:
Chercheurs Enchantes:
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Nabokov Online Journal:"
AdaOnline: "
The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada:
The VN Bibliography Blog:
Search the archive with L-Soft:

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