Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0017364, Fri, 21 Nov 2008 10:26:11 -0500

Re: QUERY: Pale Fire and rustling silks
Dear Jansy,

I've been reading your comments and others' in this
discussion of /Pale Fire/ with great interest, and
learning things I hadn't known.

I'm not sure I understand your question about the silk
dress. The literal comparison is being aware of what
Sybil thinks (or would think) before she says anything,
as one could once hear a woman's dress rustling and be
excited to know she was about to come into the room.

Beyond that, I don't have anything, except that the line
reminds me of "Is it perfume from a dress/ That makes
me so digress?" from Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred
Prufrock" (which doesn't need my praise). If there's
any connection, maybe Nabokov wants us to see Shade's
dress image as superior, but there's probably no
connection except in my mind.

I'm hoping someone will say what the "wonderful machine"
is--probably something I should have understood all

Jerry Friedman

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