NABOKV-L post 0006248, Wed, 5 Dec 2001 14:26:28 -0800

Prophecy in Pale Fire?]
EDITOR'S NOTE. Kurt Johnson, co-author of NABOKOV's BLUES--a study of
VN's impact on lepidoptery, offers a plausibe solution to the recent
flurry of messages on the use of VN texts for Nicodemusian flights of

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: [Fwd: [Fwd: Prophecy in Pale Fire?]]
Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2001 17:12:36 -0500
From: "Johnson, Kurt" <>
To: "'Vladimir Nabokov Forum'" <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>

Actually, a few weeks back there was a formula going around the email
haunts of America that allowed you to pick up the "numerology" from
Sept. 11, including stuff from Nostradamus, plug anything into it you
wanted, and come up with some "amazing" stuff about your family, the
world series, or whatever etc. etc. and then pass it on to your friends
to "impress/scare" them. I just tried to go back and find those in my
email bin but I had erased them (just checked with a couple of my
colleagues and so had they). I wonder if somewhere along the line
someone didn't do a "Nabokovian" version and this that got seized upon
(not to denigrate the original intent of the listserve contributors
here). I suppose I can still try to find someone around who has that
original email that showed you how to do it (I belong to several
"trivia" email trees; they do produce some great stuff from time to time
[for example, re science, one recently with a fascinating [and
authentic] explication of the SS-sponsored Nazi anthropology of the
1940's, an area of scholarship that seems to be growing from various
recent doctoral dissertation studies]).

Kurt Johnson

-----Original Message-----
From: D. Barton Johnson []
Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2001 4:04 PM
Subject: [Fwd: [Fwd: Prophecy in Pale Fire?]]

EDITOR's NOTE. I suspect T.AA. Colquhoun misses the point of the
original Andersonnote and S. Aksenov's comment--ir maybe I do. I took
both to be spoofs on some VN scholarship that relies (overly much) on
numerology and such like. On the other hand, VN did engage in
oneirological number mongering.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [Fwd: Prophecy in Pale Fire?]
Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2001 13:21:11 -0500
From: TA Colquhoun <>
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>

Message text written by Vladimir Nabokov Forum

>I just received a copy of Priscilla Meyer's "Find What the Sailor Has
Hidden" and I noticed on p. 185 that she connects King Alfin crashing
his plane (called a "bird of doom" in the notes to line 71) into a
building (reminiscent of certain recent events) with the waxwing flying
into the window. She mentions that the Swiss call the waxwing
Sterbevogel ("death-bird") and consider it an omen of war, pestilence
and famine, which reappears every 7 years (though it was actually 8
years since the last attack on the World Trade Center). She also
mentions that Shade died 16 days after his 61st birthday. 16+61=77, the
number of one of the plane
s involved in the terrorist attack of
September 11th. Don't read too much into this, it's just a wild
coincidence that I thought you guys might find interesting.

Steve Anderson<

What utter piffle. It's on a par with all those silly urban legends about
11 Sept - like the face of the devil in the flames of the WTC and all the
Nostradamus rubbish. Pleeeease. Let's keep Nab's beautiful world out of the
fray. The only 'birds of doom' are the cretins that give credence to this
sort of thing.

Alexandra Colquhoun