Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025104, Thu, 20 Feb 2014 22:32:52 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] RES: [NABOKV-L] Pale Fire in the Oscar-nominated
film "Her"
Barrie Karp [to JM's 'We mustn't forget that what's presented to the
spectator points not only to Nabokov's novel "Pale Fire" but, also, to a
specific edition that ostensibly carries a burnt out match in its cover (not
the most appropriate visual rendering of PF in my eyes'] What PF covers do
you like, Jansy? or imagine?

Jansy Mello: A good question (and I know you are an artist and an expert on
visual arts, right?).

I prefer the classic hard-cover edition from Everyman's Library (or the
German, Rowohlt, "Fahles Feuer") when nothing is suggested to the
prospective reader* - instead of covers like the Brazilian one by Chip Kidd,
with a flowery wallpaper background and a man who points a gun at the

If I knew how to paint or take artistic photographs I might choose something
similar to what I found in a French paperback reproducing a painting by Emil
Nolde,"Mer sombre". Or variations on ancient maps, writing desks, a
collection of reflecting windows or mirror surfaces, something descriptive
but never metaphorical.

I haven't seen "Her" (the sinopsis online reminded me of another favorite
movie in which Boy George sings the theme of "Electric Dreams") but the
strangely warm relationship established between humans and intelligent
machines reminded me of the mysterious love that may blossom in a reader,
like Kinbote towards Shade, for example. An interesting parallel for a
start. There are so many ways to interpret "Pale Fire" and to track its


*The same for the elegant Gingko edition of "John Shade's" Pale Fire.

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