Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020807, Thu, 30 Sep 2010 23:04:09 -0300

Re: THOUGHT Botkin, two allegories
Gary Lipon: ...Botkin, like VN, detests Freud, but uses the psychological framework as a plot device to stage this second allegory. The Freudianism has to be shown to be a prop.
Botkin destroys the illusion of viewing Kinbote as a dissociated piece of Shade merely by revealing his own presence: Kinbote can't be Shade because Kinbote is Botkin! Botkin writes himself into his novel in order to discredit his own tale of metamorphosis. This device allows Botkin to tell this tale despite its Freudian underpinnings, and is similar to the distancing device used by Cervantes, mentioned by Jansy.
Kinbote's role can thus be seen as the teller of his own metamorphosis. His tales of Zembla are intended to make us think he is mad and his tale therefore symbolic and allegorical. Therein he tells us other things to see and believe... Hazel's birth occurs fifteen years into the marriage.

JM: Thanks for the information about the date of Hazel's birth. Interesting hypothesis related to Botkin who "writes himself into his novel in order to discredit his own tale of metamorphosis."
There are no "Freudian underpinnings", though, related to attributing to three PF characters the functions of "Id/Ego/Superego" , nor does Freud subscribe to American psychologist's theories about "multiple personality disorder." (this has been already discussed in the Nab-List, but not conclusively).
Inspired by what we find in RLS's "Jekyll &Hyde" creative fiction, we'll tread a safer route into working over Shade's "split personality." (However, I find it equally difficult to see Kinbote as a sort of monstrous Mr.Hyde.)

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