Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015181, Thu, 26 Apr 2007 09:23:20 -0400

QUERY: Some nagging questions on PF
Dear list,
I have a few nagging questions re: Pale Fire that I no doubt share with
others. In no particular order:

1. In Canto Two, Shade describes his "little scissors" (183) as a
"synthesis of sun and star." I have never understood this image. I've
looked at my own nail scissors in an attempt to see what Shade was seeing,
alas to no avail. Help!

2. In the same scene, Shade snips off "thin strips" of "scarf-skin" from
his fingers. Though "scarf-skin" has traditionally referred to the entire
outer layer of the skin, it here refers to the skin around the cuticle, I
think. That said, I have nowhere near enough skin around my cuticles to
snip with a pair of scissors! I have heard of pushing the skin up, as I
guess they do during manicures, but is it really normal/possible to have
enough excess skin there to trim off "strips" with scissors?

3. I've never understood what "Old Pan would call from every painted hill"
(326) refers to, or how it follows from the discussion of Hazel's

4. In the commentary (C.894), what is the "eerie note that had throbbed by"
to which the German visitor replies, "Strange, strange"?

Thanks ahead of time to any and all.

Matt Roth

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