NABOKV-L post 0006031, Sat, 16 Jun 2001 11:17:33 -0700

[Fwd: Re: Indexing Pale Fire]
Taking Kinbote's version of events at face value, I tried to see which
lines would fit to which card, on my last reading which finished
yesterday. These are the problems I ran into, which I think should be
resolved before any further movement is possible:

1)How should I deal with lines split between two stanzas? Or, for that
matter, lines split within one stanza?

2)Since Kinbote tells us that the manuscript is mostly a fair copy, I
presumed that the alternate readings are not to be counted. Indeed, I
assumed that the alternate readings are his importation, and he has
forgotten what he said in his introduction. Is this a valid assumption?

3)There are some ambiguous stanza endings in the penguin edition, which
is the only one I have. I would be grateful for any help in resolving
this, from people with the LOA or other editions. These are 28, 98 [I
have taken these and all others, except where indicated, as proper
endings], 132[I have not taken a stanza ending between this line and
the next](Canto 1), 194,230,402,470,(Canto 2), 664, 766,(Canto 3),
966(Canto 4).

The only Canto that I can offer with any degree of certainty is Canto
with stanza endings at 28 and 98, and without one at 132, and
split lines as one line (ie splitting is indicated some other way - The
reason for this will become immediately obvious). Note that spacings
always have to be explicitly indicated, since there is atleast one
stanza in this canto, which has greater than 14 lines. L represents
of poems, S represents space, and this is the numerical composition of
each card:

12 L - S - 1L


1L - S - 12L

S - 8L - S - 4L

5L - S - 8L

5L - S - 8L

S - 7L - S - 5L

8L - S - 5L

1L - S - 10L - S - 1L

9L - S - 4L

2L - S - 9L (8.5) - S - 1L(1.5)

6L - S - 7L

3L - S - 10L

If I separate the split lines (accord them full line status), I shall
up with an overflow of 1, unless I also get rid of a stanza separation,
which I am unwilling to do, since, if I understand the stanzas
they each deal with at most one topic. Or is this intended to arouse our

Does any of this correspond in any way to Nabokov's arrangement of the
poem on his corrected drafts?

Has anyone tried this before? How far through his attempt

All help appreciated. I have tried this atleast thrice, each time
looking at my previous attempt, and using checks with the line numbers
provided to ensure that I am right. Therefore, I am reasonably certain
the sums above.


On Tue, 8 May 2001, D. Barton Johnson wrote:

> ------------------
> Hello,
> This is my first posting to the NABOKOV list.
> I work in the computer software industry, with a particular
> personal interest in Hypertext, and storing information
> and knowledge in computer systems.
> I have just completed my second reading of PALE FIRE,
> and I'm very interested in exploring the Index of the
> book by transferring this text to my computer and
> generating hypertext links to each line reference in the
> poem.
> I have typed out the first Canto and will complete the
> remaining Cantos in the next couple of weeks. Obviously
> this project has to remain on my computer because of
> the copyright of the text, unless I can persuade the
> publisher to make it available. A "Pale Fire" CD-ROM
> would be a great product in my opinion! Maybe Brian
> Boyd has explored this idea since he wrote a Ph D
> on Pale Fire.
> My question to the list is deciding which lines of text
> belong to each index card. In the preface, Kinbote says
> there are 80 cards containing the poem, and the commentary
> indicates a few card numbers here and there. In the meantime
> I will make a best guess since it wont be too hard to
> regenerate my hypertext as it will be done with a set
> of Perl scripts.
> Kind regards,
> Charles Cave
> in Sydney, Australia


"It is impossible, by the way, by picking up one of anything to pick one
that is not atypical in some sense."
- R.P. Feynman, The Character of Physical Law