Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0013515, Wed, 11 Oct 2006 06:50:47 EDT

Re: Replies from CK (and note on index to SO)

In a message dated 10/10/2006 16:51:32 GMT Standard Time,

VN's positive statements in Strong Opinions about Shade's
emotional-spiritual life

Dear Anthony,

Citation please? I'd like to comment but am not sure where to look in
Strong Opinions.


Dear Carolyn,

1st edition, 1973.

pp. 118-119.

Would it be fair to say that you see life as a very funny but cruel joke?

[...] As to the lives of my characters, not all are grotesque and not all
are tragic: Fyodor in The Gift is blessed with a faithful love and an early
recognition of his genius; John Shade in Pale Fire leads an intense inner
existence, far removed from what you call a joke. You must be confusing me with

p. 184.

Do you make a point of puzzling people and playing games with readers?

What a bore that would be!

p. 74.

I finished Finnegans Wake eventually. It has no inner connection with Pale
[Cf. Kinbote's circularity theory, A. Stadlen.] I think it is so nice that
the day on which Kinbote committed suicide (and he certainly did after putting
the finishing touches to his edition of the poem) happens to be both the
anniversary of Pushkin's Lyceum and that of "poor old man Swift" 's death, which
is news to me (but see variant in note to line 231).

p. 79.

Kinbote was simply annoyed by the spreading foliage of summer interfering
with his Tom-peeping. [Cf. multiple personality theory, A. Stadlen.]

pp. 91-92.

My Solus Rex might have disappointed Kinbote less than Shade's poem. [... ]
... he would be tolerably sure that he was not back on the banks of the Neva.
[In other words, VN thinks of Kinbote as a real person (albeit presumably
Botkin), familiar with the banks of the Neva, presumably in St Petersburg. I
have not the energy or time to transcribe the whole of this last extract, which
when read in toto makes this point a fortiori. A. Stadlen.]

Best regards,


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