Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026282, Fri, 10 Jul 2015 11:58:16 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] Pale Fire - Length And Line Numbers? (resending)

De: Jansy Mello [mailto:jansy.mello@outlook.com]
Enviada em: sexta-feira, 10 de julho de 2015 11:49
Para: 'Vladimir Nabokov Forum'
Assunto: RES: [NABOKV-L] RES: [NABOKV-L] Pale Fire - Length And Line Numbers?

Mahmhoud Aliamer:When I initially split my PF into fourteen line segments, I had card 11 ending after "140 Tugged at by playful death, released again" as well, with Canto One ending with thirteen cards exactly, but it does seem to me that there is a double space between "bicycle tires" and " a thread of subtle pain," which would necessitate that a line be skipped on the index card. That double space, which occurs in both of my Vintage International editions, does not seem to be present in the Everyman's Library 1992 edition of Pale Fire. If the double space is not considered, the first canto is thirteen index cards long. It seems to be more so a quirk of printing than a Nabokovian trick.

Jansy Mello: After you described the double space in the two Vintage International editions, and your hypothesis about a quirk of printing, I decided to check two other different editions of PF: the careful translation by Dieter Zimmer (in which the double space isn’t found) and the supervised French one by Girard/Coindreau in which the double space is preserved.
btw: In “The Library of America”,1996 edition, supervised by Brian Boyd, the double space is also absent. However in the printed booklet reproduction of the Poem that accompanies the “facsimile” cards, B.Boyd maintained the double space!

Since the rhyme pattern is absent in both and the language barrier provides an interesting distancing effect, it’s easier to focus on the subject of the verses.
Line 139, in the French, offers the end of a theme and the beginning of another one and there the change of subject matter is that which is signaled by the double space…In German, this device must have been deemed unnecessary. After all this change is still graphically very visible

In nassen Sand gepresst.
Ein Faden feiner Pein,

140 Vom spielerischen Tod gezupft, dann wieder los gelassen ,


Adroites d’une bicyclette.

Un fil de douleur subtile,

140 Tiré par joeuse mort, et puis relâché,

In his foreword, Charles Kinbote details: “writing out [...] the text of his poem, skipping a line to indicate double space, and always using a fresh card to begin a new canto.
This is an important remark. In the “facsimile” of the cards a line has not been skipped. The “facsimile”, with its two different graphic presentations (booklet and cards), apparently shows an inconsistency or is “undecidable” when we keep following the information given by Kinbote.

(Are we to trust CK????)

In conclusion: Mahmoud, I think you made a very good point.

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