Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0014435, Mon, 18 Dec 2006 10:53:16 -0800

Fw: Urgent Pale Fire Geography Questions
FROM: Don Johnson

I have sought expert advice on Appalachia and related questions from
a professional geographer (who happens to be my step-son)and lives on the
edge of Appalachia in N. Carolina.. My questions to him are at the bottom;
his answers at the top. Matt Roth is, of course, right that New Wye is
south of Baltimore (not north as I carelessly said). At the time I posed my
questions to him, the possibility of a non-Italian Palermo had not come up
but on reflection I think K must be thinking of the Italian one.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Aaron Moody" <aaronm@email.unc.edu>
To: "D. Barton Johnson" <chtodel@cox.net>
Sent: Monday, December 18, 2006 10:18 AM
Subject: Re: Urgent Geography Questions

Hi Don,

Here is my crack at your questions.

1. As you might guess, there are numerous versions of the boundary
around "Appalachia." I've attached a map
with a number of the more formal ones indicated. The most commonly used
definition is that of the
Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) (orange (yellow?) line on the map)
from 1967. This one does, just barely, contain Ithaca. None of the other
ones do. And, in my prowling around, I don't see any definition which
is as liberal as the ARC.

2a. Clearly, Palermo is south of Baltimore, although I have the latitude
of Palermo as 38 07 N, not 38 15 N.

2b. The distance between 39 17 and 38 15 is about 115km (71.5 mi)
The distance betwen 39 17 and 38 07 is about 129 km (80.2 mi)

Best of Luck.


D. Barton Johnson wrote:

Dear Aaron
> I'm laboring to finish an overdue paper and hoping you all might
> have quick answers to the following questions.
> 1) Is Ithaca (NY) condidered to be in Appalachia (or west of the ranges)?
> 2) In the paragraph below re the fictional town of New Wye-- (a) is
> New Wye north or south of Baltimore and
> (b) in terms of miles, how far north/south from each other are
> Palermo (Sicily) and Baltimore? I.E., what is the milage between
> latitudes 39 17 and 38 15 in the Baltimore area?
> New Wye is at the latitude of Palermo in Sicily.. Baltimore is at
> latitude 39 17 N and longitude 76 36 W; Palermo at
> 38 15 & 13 34.
> One of the prerequisites for any discussion of birds is knowledge of their
> geographical distribution. The novel's semi-mythical settings range
> from Nova
> Zembla, through Europe to Wordsmith College in New Wye, and Cedarn, Utana
> (Utah+Montana). Most of the "real" action in Pale Fire takes place in
> “New Wye,”
> suggesting New (Y)ork state, although elsewhere Kinbote locates New
> Wye in New
> England (Commentary to line 149, p.139). To add to the mystification,
> Kinbote
> sites New Wye not very far north of Baltimore at the latitude of
> Palermo in
> Sicily (19). Baltimore is at latitude 39 17 N and longitude 76 36 W;
> Palermo at
> 38 15 & 13 34. Queried in an interview, Nabokov indicated that “the
> particular
> features of the landscape—the lakes, the campus, the academic
> suburb---remain
> close to Cornell,” but adds that Wordsmith is “much more to the south
> than any
> of the colleges with which I have been connected. … The flora and the
> fauna may
> indicate somewhere a little further south in Appalachia.” Shade, in
> one of his
> natural history disquisitions, speaks of “the extraordinary blend of
> Canadian
> Zone and Austral Zone … in that particular spot of Appalachia where at our
> altitude of about 1,500 feet northern species of birds, insects and plants
> commingled with southern representatives” (169). The evening ambles
> of Shade
> and Kinbote are well away from Ithaca which is at 475 feet. In short,
> much of
> Appalachia provides the novel’s natural history context.

Search the archive: http://listserv.ucsb.edu/archives/nabokv-l.html
Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu
Visit Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
View Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm