NABOKV-L post 0002651, Fri, 19 Dec 1997 10:41:15 -0800

Re: PF/Hamlet (fwd)
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <>
Subject: Re: PF/Hamlet

From: Matt Morris - Forsyth Technical Community College

The Hamlet/Pale Fire connection is an interesting one and worth exploring
Don't Hamlet and John Shade both share a certain conviction--ironically,
just before they are killed--that they have, to an extent, made sense of the
"link-and-bobolink" of reality?

The death of the poet after he has reached relative serenity about
metaphysical-religious problems parallels that of Hamlet after he has
decided that Providence has a direction, since it saved him from the death
that Claudius had arranged for him. Both Nabokov and Shakespeare then
overturn this kind of conviction by the violent deaths of their
protagonists, raising the question of any order, of a "correlated pattern."
Nabokov's tentative answer is that perhaps only the "texture" matters, not
the "text." In other words, not the text of reality but the texture that
our mind "feels" when it makes into an imaginative whole its discordant and
digressive perceptions.

We may conclude that for Nabokov (and by implication, Shade), there was a
certain order in the very disorder of reality, or to put it differently,
that the order of reality was disorder. Far from being disturbed by this
fact, Nabokov is delighted by it (as was Sterne by the disorder of the mind).