NABOKV-L post 0014519, Thu, 28 Dec 2006 12:17:01 -0200

Re: shadow of a bird image
shadow of a bird imageCK to CHW: I've always pictured a glass roof with the little bird flying against the slope and the poet looking up. Doesn't make any sense of course now that I think about it, unless Shade actually lived in a glass house.

JM: A glass house! Isn' t this already a metaphor for Kinbote's ever present eavesdroppings? (oops, not a stillicidal word when set close to a bird, is it?) Shade found himself in a papered cage, though.
I suggest we include the glass house as part of our collection of images ( do you also have a proverb in English about "people who inhabit glass houses should never throw stones at their neighbors" ? ), an extensive metaphorical "solarium".

In this case we now get a glimpse of the waxwing's shadow as it may have been reflected onto a different window ( Kinbote's) from the one into which it crashed, but only if the scene had not taken place in Shade's childhood when, instead of CK, it must have been inhabited by the Goldsworth not yet alphabetical family...

Gloaming with a GPS device, plus Stonehenge with Peter Pan? Where's the Hook?


But to think seriously, the only way the poet could be in the shadow of the bird, the sun would either have to be "at 9 o'clock" or "at 3 o'clock" and the bird, window and poet on the sun side of the house in a fairly exact alignment. The house was old, so the window must have been of modest size, not one of those modern plate glass affairs. Possibly it could only happen on one day of the year (like Stonehenge) either mid-winter or mid-summer - - St John's eve is it? depending on how the house itself is aligned.

Interesting query. Of course the whole image could simply be a metaphor. If Sylvia and Sybil are birds, presumably their mate(s) would also be avian. Another indication perhaps that Shade is not shot, but lives on, flies on as the Kinbote-bird (anyone for Peter Pan)?


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