NABOKV-L post 0014942, Thu, 22 Feb 2007 09:07:30 +1300

Re: B.Boyd on "PF" denigrators
Addendum: James Marcus declares that it takes a tin ear to rate the "Pale Fire" poem highly. Then he speaks with a tin tongue: "VN just isn't in the same ballpark as top-drawer Frost." How to undermine your critical clout in one easy lesson!

Brian Boyd

-----Original Message-----
From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum on behalf of Nabokv-L
Sent: Thu 22/02/2007 5:14 AM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] B.Boyd on "PF" denigrators

EDNote: Sorry for double posting--I sent this with an unedited subject line last night! ~SB

RE: [NABOKV-L] SIGHTINGS: "PF" quality footnote
<> <>
Wed, 21 Feb 2007 14:29:27 +1300

What puzzles me about the denigrators of the quality of "Pale Fire" is that the examples they cite of the poem's supposed clunkers do not seem clunky to me. "'False azure' indeed." Indeed what?

Brian Boyd

It takes an ear of the purest tin--a kind of metallurgical wonder--to make these assertions. Nabokov was a great novelist but a minor poet. The diction of "Pale Fire" dips into poetic flabbiness with the very second line ("false azure" indeed), and while there are passages of tremendous beauty and cutting wit, VN just isn't in the same ballpark as top-drawer Frost. No comparison. Deal with it, Nabokovians.

James Marcus /New York, NY/HOUSE OF MIRTH, July 28,2005

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