Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0014078, Thu, 16 Nov 2006 16:26:26 -0500

JF on DZ on date palms, NYH Tribune, and modest proposal
Dieter Zimmer wrote:

> To Jerry Friedman and the others
> I am pleased to say that I wholly agree with Jerry.

Not as pleased as I am.

Thank you for the Trib information! That's going to show up
in Wikipedia soon.

Charles Wallace asked about Nabokov's saying in that interview
that Mary McCarthy couldn't find the "pale fire" quotation.
According to one of the articles in /The Garland Companion to
Nabokov/ (which I got yesterday), the correct identification of the
"pale fire" quotation didn't appear in Mary McCarthy's essay till
a revision of 1970, I think. I was surprised. Sorry, I'm at work
(not at work, though) and the book's at home, but I can come with
exact details and a reference tomorrow.

Your (ahem) dating of the list of Shakespeare's trees in your
later post was very interesting. It doesn't prove that Nabokov
didn't make a mistake--though I agree with you that that's
unlikely--or that he didn't intend the kind of solution involving
a greenhouse that you suggested earlier--but if the discrepancy
really is intentional, I'm convinced that you showed it's
important. And I haven't seen any explanation for such
importance of the tree list other than an intentional discrepancy,
like "Utana" in the same note with "Montana" and "Utah" (which
nobody has answered my query about). I agree with Matt Roth that
it was inspired by the ill-advised introduction of the starling to
New York, but I think there must be more.

I'm even tempted to think that it's meant to call attention to
the novel's unverisimilar /dates/--the Goldsworth girls' ages are
certainly intentional, and Kinbote's mention of his "slip" on
Shade's age (n. 167) suggests that the other discrepancies on
Shade's birth year are intentional. But that pun may be more
mine than Nabokov's.

> I second the modest proposal that we should try to limit our postings
> one a day. I do not second the proposal that we limit their length.
> somebody has something substantial to say, it cannot be long enough.
> Instead, I immodestly propose that as a matter of routine we wait an
> hour or two before pushing the send button.

I sympathize with you and Sam Schuman, but I think I'm going to
exceed my quota today. My excuse is that I haven't posted for
almost a week, so I'm okay on average. And I put the answer to
Charles's question into this post, which I think at least shows
willing, as the British say.


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