NABOKV-L post 0017890, Wed, 11 Mar 2009 14:49:21 -0300

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Re: THOUGHTS: More bits of S in K, and vice-versa
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MR responding to JA [... as Boyd has conceded, there are a number of unanswerable objections that make a pure Shadean approach untenable... In PF, the whole book is a confrontation scene between Shade and Kinbote, and this contrast/conflict gives the book its dramatic structure. Indeed, a theory of multiple personalities gives meaning to the structure of the novel that a traditional reading of the novel does not...]

JM: In my prior posting I observed: "The tripartite view with Gradus, Shade and Kinbote already present in the first lines ( as shadow,fluff and living on) would result from reading PF only through Kinbote's eyes ("I"s). I think that we, as readers are also expected to "split" in two - but I'm not sure, yet."

Although I'm not sure about VN's intentions (as they can be surmised by Pale Fire's dramatic structure and underlying theories on reading or style,) to stand unflinchingly by my hypothesis that only part of the "confrontation" takes place in the corpus of the novel ( final meeting with Jack Grey/Gradus; Shade/Judge Goldsworth and Botkin/Kinbote) because the other part takes place "in" the reader, I'm certain of one thing: the "multiple personality theory" can only arise when we look at the novel through Kinbote's enveloping forword,commentaries and index.
I suppose this makes me side with Boyd's objections against a pure Shadean approach while admitting, at the same time, Kinbote's split mind and fantasy world. To add the reader's "split/mirror" reading at some other time, peut-être.

Changing the subject, but not much:

After Derzhavin's acrostic and last words, here are Rabelais' alleged last, brought up once again in order to explore with the List the meaning of Kinbote's indignant protest on Shade's "lack of respect for Death".
His wording indicates that for him "le grand peut-être", God and Death are somehow synonimous and that he disconsidered the rest of the sentence:"the farce is played." ( perhaps it is too much of a give-away?*)

Je m'en vais chercher un grand peut-être; tirez le rideau, la farce est jouée.
( I am going to seek a grandiose If; draw the curtain, the farce is played.)
Cf. Motteux, Life of Rabelais
Cf. Charles Kinbote ,PF, on Line 502: The grand potato: "An execrable pun, deliberately placed in this epigraphic position to stress lack of respect for Death. I remember from my schoolroom days Rabelais' soi-disant "last words" among other bright bits in some French manual: Je m'en vais chercher le grand peut-être."


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*- Trying to gather interesting correlations concerning VN's "a good formula to test the quality of a novel is, in the long run, a merging of the precision of poetry and the intuition of science", I first selected Kant's words "neither concepts without an intuition ..., nor intuition without concepts, can yield knowledge", to return to Rabelais when he quotes a wise Salomon: "science sans conscience n'est que ruyne de l'ame"( science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul," in "Les horribles et espouvantables faictz & prouesses du tres renommé Pantagruel Roy des Dipsodes, filz du grand géant Gargantua", ch VIII(1532), which might be set side by side with Demon´s (Ada) on science and art: "how incestuously - c´est le mot - art and science meet in an insect"). I'm looking forward to Stephen Blackwell's detailed information (SB, can you anticipate certain news about it here?) on why, for VN ( and Demon), the boundaries bt. art and science are unclear. Then I'll be able to ask if VN's re-readings included "Pantagruel" and if he'd ever referred to the euphonic "science/conscience" in relation to "the soul."
As it happens in Pale Fire it is possible to read Rabelais ( I didn't, either way: I parrot the wiki) as a scatological work and a farce ( the multiple personality theory would end up with such a limitation), or as a kind of mystical initiation.
Kinbote (his tragedy and sufferings) might represent the farcical side and Shade ( the poet of PF) would become the representative of VN's exercises and conjectures about the other-world.


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