NABOKV-L post 0007059, Sat, 9 Nov 2002 09:28:48 -0800

Fw: reply to Carolyn Kunin re Pale Fire puzzle
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nick Grundy" <>
To: "Vladimir Nabokov Forum" <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
Sent: Saturday, November 09, 2002 5:00 AM
Subject: reply to Carolyn Kunin re Pale Fire puzzle

> This message was originally submitted by nick@BSAD.ORG to the NABOKV-L
> ----------------- Message requiring your approval (43
lines) ------------------
> Carolyn Kunin wrote:
> >p.s. There are many things I don't understand, among which are
> >
> >3) an author whose intent is to write a book whose intent is impossible
> to discern. There are of course some writers >(French, I think) who write
> like this, but I don't see much point to reading them.
> and later:
> > Mr Shade is strange. The diabolical is always lurking. His muse is the
> > Versipel (not even in the OED, but from Latin versi (change, turn) +
> > (hide). The Red Admiral butterfly that he associates with his love for
> > wife was at one time considered a symbol of death and damnation. His
> > was demented and his life twisted, to use his own words.
> >
> > Yes, very strange.
> Indeed! Although it hadn't occurred to me until you pointed it out,
> Shade's poem containing a reference to "demons of pity" is, or at the very
> least could be argued as, evidence for your position that Shade and
> are the same person. Part of a conversation between Shade and Kinbote
> about the nature of sin runs as follows:
> KINBOTE: Tut-tut. Do you also deny that there are sins?
> SHADE: I can name only two: murder, and the deliberate infliction of pain.
> KINBOTE: Then a man spending his life in absolute solitude could not be a
> sinner?
> SHADE: He could torture animals. He could poison the springs on his
> island. He could denounce an innocent man in a posthumous manifesto.
> KINBOTE: And so the password is -?
> SHADE: Pity.
> Shade can hardly call pity the password in a discussion of what does and
> does not consitute sin and also regard it as demonic, and the apparent
> contradiction could be explained if the Kinbote personality "breaks in" to
> Shade's poem at times.
> Interestingly, this is one of the moments at which Shade's viewpoint (on
> what are sins) appears close to VN's own, although whether this has any
> significance to the subject at hand I don't know. You could also find, in
> the posthumous manifesto, Shade foreshadowing Kinbote's later treatment of
> Nick.