NABOKV-L post 0014140, Tue, 21 Nov 2006 22:41:31 -0500

JF on quality of PF, CK in New Wye, sublimated grouse, pine's bark
My only post for today, so I'm combining a number of PF topics that
have been in the list lately.

My reading of the poem, /pace/ Andrew Brown, is that it's
secondarily a narrative and primarily another kind of poem that
some will consider unpoetic: making a point. Shade shares his
combinative "faint hope"; with rhyme he can make more seemingly
superficial connections of the kind he bases it on. His
macaronic rhymes (consonne/upon), light rhymes (spring/shivering),
off-rhymes (sun/phenomenon), broken rhyme (high-/ sky), and
especially the elaborate "Sybil it is" and the rich rhymes
(document/meant, meant/cement) may seem like faults--and I see
the objections to some--but they also call attention to his
feeling of "fantastically planned,/ Richly rhymed life."

Then Nabokov had another reason: he wanted that strong hint
for a possible 1000th line. So I don't think blank verse
was a possibility.

(Maybe Shade's or Nabokov's biggest mistake was determining
that the number of lines would be 1000. Would 800 have
given a better result?)

I agree with much of what Matt says in defense of the end of
Canto 2. I like "zesty" as a description of skaters and I see
the desire for the z that Andrew mentioned, but I too think the
line would be better without any adjective. Some sort of
adjective for "frost" is needed, since mere frost doesn't
made skating possible, but I don't think "special" is the right
word. (I'm amazed that JS and VN resisted the temptation of
"extra".) Finally, "from Exe to Wye" in that context is not so
offensive since Shade will argue that coincidences are as
important as life and death. Maybe more important.

Thanks for your comments on my posts, Matt. I agree that the
note to line 894 is unreliable. In any case, it's undated, so
it doesn't help with the question of when people knew Kinbote
was insane. (Other odd features of that note are Shade's "Nay,
sir" and Kinbote's lack of comment, possibly involving spanking,
on Shade's blowing Kinbote's cover by mentioning the surname

On the other hand, I think we are entitled to draw conclusions
from Prof. Pardon's impression that "Kinbote" was an anagram
for "Botkin(e)". Even if Kinbote invents the scene, why would
he invent the connection between himself and Botkin if there
weren't one? (And I'm glad my e-mails were useful, if that's
the word, to Charles.)

To Don Johnson: You connect the sublimated grouse with Hazel's
(possible) transformation. Back in August, Priscilla Meyer
answered my question on Pnin in PF by suggesting that it
was one of Nabokov's "Cinderella metamorphoses". Now that you
mention the grouse, maybe it's another instance of a general
metamorphosis theme. (If there's ever a PF wiki, it could
have a long article on metamorphoses.)

Finally, and speaking of metamorphoses, to Jansy: You seem to
take "Life as a message scribbled in the dark" as what was
"espied on a pine's bark". The connection is tempting (and
may indicate Shade's train of thought), but I think the literal
reading is that what was on the bark was the shed integument
and the dead ant. Thanks, though, for pointing out the connection
between that "anonymous" aphorism and the strange lines 939-940.

Jerry Friedman will stop now.

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