Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0007015, Mon, 4 Nov 2002 10:41:06 -0800

Fw: C. Kunin replies to T Nguyen re Pale Fire
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nick Grundy" <nick@bsad.org>
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> Carolyn Kunin wrote:
> >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?
> This reminds me of the comment in 'Strong Opinions': "What I would welcome
> at the close of a book of mine is a sensation of its world receding in the
> distance and stopping somewhere there suspended afar like a picture in a
> picture". The picture-in-a-picture seems to suggest that the best the
> reader can do is to come up with a series of interim solutions, with the
> ultimate solution forever delayed. Regardless, I'm not sure this is
> entirely consistent with the idea of an author creating a puzzle without
> any solutions, nor a puzzle with a single solution; it might suggest an
> authorial intention which is to undermine the importance of authorial
> intention. Or at least, it might if you read it as: my intention is to
> produce a book in which it is impossible to distinguish my intention.
> That sounds like a circular argument, but it may well be a spiral.
> Yours,
> Nick.