NABOKV-L post 0017844, Sat, 7 Mar 2009 22:49:00 -0300

Subject
Re: Pale Fire's (fatal?) Flaw
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Date
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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 Christian Trinity.
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 (VN's).

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 golden burgundy.)

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 18...





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Excerpts:
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 public[...]

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? No threesomes?

C. 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?

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