NABOKV-L post 0007205, Tue, 3 Dec 2002 09:11:29 -0800

Fw: Flatman
----- Original Message -----
From: Andrew Brown
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Monday, December 02, 2002 8:22 PM
Subject: Re: Flatman

Natochdag/Netochka (sp? book not with me) is a character of major importance, not major obviously in his own appearances. But look at when he is referred to and by whom. He is Kinbote's supervisor. He is one of a very few who know Kinbote's secret (so Kinbote thinks). Actually, what Natochdag, Shade and a few others know is that the one who calls himself Kinbote in his own writings is Botkin, a minor scholar going mad in a big way.

I don't think the name choice comes from either of the sources you sight. The fact that it appears in two such disparate contexts shows that it was a not unusual name, to a Russian or one who knew Russians.

Flatman is in my Oxford 17th Century poets with two poems. Nabokov has Kinbote say "Flatman" in response to the lame punoo/tire pun of Shade. It is a predictably lame riposte with a clear and crucial clue.

----- Original Message -----
From: D. Barton Johnson
Sent: Monday, December 02, 2002 12:01 PM
Subject: Fw: Flatman

----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2002 7:47 PM
Subject: Flatman

from Andrew Brown:

He references primarily classics or old, obscure references ... one of which is Thomas Flatman, an English poet 1637-1688, who wrote a poem called A Thought of Death which you may want to read. The Flatman reference is made by Kinbote speaking with Shade and the guys in the commentary note where one of the guys is trying to pronounce Professor Pnin's name. Make sure to give me credit for what you find there.

Dear Andrew Brown,

Mr Flatman seems to have evaded my library and both the local public and college libraries. I do know that Professor Boyd has uncovered his panagyrics to Charles II and Professor Meyer has uncovered an interest in death and possibly nates. If you have found something else, I'd very much like to read it.

I don't think T S Eliot, Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, Conan Doyle, Goldsmith, Wordsworth, Swift, Pope, Shelley, Browning or R L Stevenson (I'm sure I'm forgetting somebody) can be classified as old and obscure, but certainly Flatman is both.

If you claim that Natochdag or Natogdag or Netochka is a major character in Pale Fire, please provide some evidence, since he appears to be a minor actor. Miss Natochdag is a major character in one of Isak Dinesen's Seven Gothic Tales (The Deluge at Norderney) and Netochka Nezvanova, also female, is a major character in a minor work by Dostoevsky.

Carolyn Kunin