Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0027600, Mon, 20 Nov 2017 12:44:17 -0800

Re: 11111 in Pale Fire
In Joyce's FW, 111 is a big motif.

I've read that VN too was into [threes].

The best examples (that I can think of) are :

cells, cells, cells in Pale Fire
"Ozero, oblako, bashnya" (...) published in 1937
( three conjoined lakes called Omega, Ozero, and Zero )

FW's 00 and VN's 000

United Kingdom police/ambulance/fire 112 or 999

Non-emergency police - 101;
Non-emergency health issues - 111.

117 is the police emergency telephone number in Switzerland



>>> Man-made objects were to him either hives of evil,
vibrant with a malignant activity that he alone could perceive, or
gross comforts for which no use could be found in the abstract
world. <<<

iv vi vi ivi iv , or oooo oooo

The sentence contains two branching, parallel predicate phrases, the
first affirming meaning (albeit malignant) and the second negating it.

What I noticed about these phrases is that the first contains a series
of “iv” and “vi” letter combinations (in fact, fittingly, five of

For its part, the second phrase contains nine uses of the letter “o.”
If we read the “v” and “i” as Roman numerals, they add up to six,
Dolinin’s sign for meaning, while the preponderance of the letter “o”
points to the zero (nothingness).

Is it possible that Nabokov planted these numbers in the story’s first
paragraph as a foreshadowing of the larger story’s numerical code?

Or have I succumbed to the “referential mania” that so afflicts the
unfortunate son?

On 8/16/16, Alexey Sklyarenko <skylark1970@mail.ru> wrote:

> I notice that in the emergency telephone number dialed by Kinbote at least
> twice there are five (not four) figures 1:
> One night the black cat, which a few minutes before I had seen rippling
> down
> into the basement where I had arranged toilet facilities for it in an
> attractive setting, suddenly reappeared on the threshold of the music room,
> in the middle of my insomnia and a Wagner record, arching its back and
> sporting a neck bow of white silk which it could certainly never have put
> on
> all by itself. I telephoned 11111 and a few minutes later was discussing
> possible culprits with a policeman who relished greatly my cherry cordial,
> but whoever had broken in had left no trace. (note to Line 62)
> I then dialed 11111 and returned with a glass of water to the scene of the
> carnage. The poor poet had now been turned over and lay with open dead eyes
> directed up at the sunny evening azure. The armed gardener and the battered
> killer were smoking side by side on the steps. The latter, either because
> he
> was in pain, or because he had decided to play a new role, ignored me as
> completely as if I were a stone king on a stone charger in the Tessera
> Square of Onhava; but the poem was safe. (note to Line 1000)
> It is said that young Gogol's penname 0000 comes from four letters o in his
> name Nikolay Vasilievich Gogol-Yanovski. I suspect that the emergency
> number
> 11111 comes from five letters i in VN's full name: Vladimir Vladimirovich
> Nabokov. Roman numeral I (one) corresponds to Arabic 1. Five ones make V,
> the Roman numeral that corresponds to Arabic 5. On the other hand, Roman
> letter V is the initial of VN's name and patronymic. Like Shade, VN's
> father
> Vladimir Dmitrievich (in whose name and patronymic there are also five
> letters i) was assassinated by a terrorist. The Cyrillic counterpart of
> Roman V looks like Roman B, which is Botkin's initial. Shade's, Kinbote's
> and Gradus' "real" name seems to be Vsevolod Botkin. The number of letters
> in the name Vsevolod Botkin corresponds to the number of lines in a sonnet
> (or in the Eugene Onegin stanza): 14. At the Lyceum Pushkin occupied Room
> No. 14. Kinbote completes his work on Shade's poem and commits suicide on
> Oct. 19, 1959 (the Lyceum anniversary). There is a hope that, after
> Kinbote's suicide, Botkin will be "full" (i. e. one) again.
> Alexey Sklyarenko

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