NABOKV-L post 0014268, Sun, 3 Dec 2006 13:39:43 -0800

c/k/s, Karlik & Kinbote: camouflage or coincidence?
Dear Alexey,

I found your Danish observations very tasty, and your karlik/dwarf/Hyde
point filled me with pleasure, but I must make a small correction to your
otherwise completely delectable contribution.

The word "kinbote" does not actually appear in the RLS story. But the act of
kinbote defines the first action involving Jekyll/Hyde in the tale. Hyde
commits a criminal act - - he runs over and tramples a small girl. Her
family (or kin) come after Hyde demanding retribution (bot or bote in old
legal language). Of course Jekyll is more endangered by the confrontation
with the child's family (he might be exposed) and he, Jekyll, can only
escape by paying kinbote for Hyde's criminal act. Even though RLS was
trained to the law and may have known the word kinbote, his readers would

But see how nicely the obscurity of the word suited VN's purposes - -
allowing him to reveal and hide at the same time. It strikes me as a
literary sort of camouflage. Compare to hiding the "C" in the "G" if I'm
reading correctly.

By the way, if I'm reading incorrectly, how can you (or anyone else) explain
that G = C = K = S lead me, via J & H, to "kinbote"? Although I was
perfectly willing to find coincidence in
Lolita/Dolly/Winslow/Russia/Tamara/Colette I am hard put to find it here.


Search the archive:
Contact the Editors:,
Visit Zembla:
View Nabokv-L policies: