Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004789, Sun, 20 Feb 2000 16:07:50 -0800

Re: : Pale Fire & homophobia (fwd)
>The question now being, it seems to me, if VN was aware that there was such a
>thing as irrational prejudice against homosexuals (as, considering how his
>brother Sergei died, he must have been), why does he create a Kinbote who
>seems -- among many other things -- to be supportive of such a prejudice?
>And that is indeed an interesting question.
>Christopher Berg

It was clear to me, when reading his biography, that VVN not only knew
there was such a thing but was aware of it *in* himself. For 1939 he
seems to have dealt with it pretty well. I don't see that the character
of Kinbote is "supportive of such a prejudice" any more than Ada presents
an argument in favor of incest. Kinbote is one sort of person who is to
be found among heterosexuals and homosexuals alike -- one who is not
interested in an exclusive, long-term relationship, and who enjoys sex
with younger partners (though not as young as Humbert was fixed upon).
This discussion appeared on this list three (four?) years ago, and it
still puzzles me, and I remain convinced that the real complaint is that
VVN did not create any appropriate, politically correct role model gay
characters, as if that were somehow an ethical fault. I don't find
Kinbote offensive.. quite the contrary.

Alexander Justice * justice@ucla.edu * Hollywood, California, USA

Graduate Student * Information Studies * UCLA

"At the apex of the top segment stands often one man, and only one. His
joyful vision cloaks a vast sorrow. Even those who are nearest to him in
sympathy do not understand him. Angrily they abuse him as a charlatan or
madman. So in his lifetime stood Beethoven, solitary and insulted."