NABOKV-L post 0007006, Sun, 3 Nov 2002 11:07:55 -0800

Fw: C. Kunin replies to T Nguyen re Pale Fire
Ck replies to TN re Pale Fire
----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Sunday, November 03, 2002 8:55 AM
Subject: Ck replies to TN re Pale Fire

Dear Mr Nguyen,

I'm afraid I don't understand. Are you saying that Nabokov wrote a novel which poses many questions, but it's incorrect to try to answer them? You do not see the novel, as I and others do, as a puzzle requiring solution, that much seems clear.

I could understand if you thought the novel was a paradox (which it may turn out to be), but that doesn't seem to be it. Are you saying that the novel is intentionally insoluble or incomprehensible?

Or are you saying that the author doesn't care how we read his novel; that the author's intentions are irrelevant; that the author creates a puzzle without a solution?

These, if any of them is what you claim, don't sound very Nabokov to me. In sum, I dont' think I understand what your argument is.

I did not mean to accuse you of anything. I merely stated that if you play the game, why criticise others for playing it?

This assumption has compelled many to read the text in a certain manner, one which seeks desperately to be the first person to discover the exhaustive, definitive answer and thus win the prize. Some have gone to great lengths to become the victor, forwarding theories of questionable authorship, ghostly influence, and the one you recently brought to our attention characterizing Shade as a drunken sexual predator.

Why the over-reach? That characterization of Shade was one I quoted to show that I was not the only person to conclude that Shade has something to hide, it was not my own. I would rather say I characterize Shade as "Dr Kinbote and Mr Shade."

Carolyn Kunin