Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025151, Mon, 3 Mar 2014 18:01:43 +0000

Re: RES: [NABOKV-L] RES: [NABOKV-L] topology/fugal time;
Carolyn asks: “Did Kinbote escape from Zembla as Tiffany thinks (& mostly so do I) coincident
with Shade's 1957 attack, or after Shade is "shot"? Both seem to be true.”

MR: Our theory is that Kinbote’s “arrival” is coincident with Shade’s attack. He becomes the dominant personality at the time of Shade’s “death.” I have been following the discussion but alas have not had time to respond with any depth. Good to notice, though, how prevalent the theme of duplication is throughout Shade’s poem. Here is a brief list of duplications, twins, reflections, shadows, repetitions, etc. in the poem. Perhaps others can add to the list:

Canto One:
Waxwing images (lines 1-4)
Shade duplicating himself, lamp, apple (5-6)
Furniture on the lawn (7-12)
Snow’s white vs. day’s white (15)
Dual blue (17)
Viewer and view united (18)
Repeated/reversed footprints (23-28)
Internal reproduction of external images (39)
Picture window flanked with fancy chairs (60)
Doubled bird calls (65-67)
“both ornithologists” (72)
“a thousand parents” (74)
“Twinned iris” (108)
Reflected rainbow (112)
Foretime and aftertime like wings (122-24)
Lemniscate (137)

Canto Two:
Hazel as reproduction of Shade (293-4)
School pantomime (311)
Reversed words (347-9)
“mirrors smiled” & “shadows mild” (361-2)
“reflector poles” (447)
Retake, retake (487)

Canto Three:
Yewshade (509)
Ampersand (lemniscate) (534)
Widower’s double wives (570-588)
Cells interlinked (774-6)
Natural shams (712-15)
Artist’s role doubling that of the gods (811-15)

Canto Four:
Sleepwalking scene (doubled consciousness) (874-886)
Bimanists (two hands) (911)
Triple ripple (919)
Versipel (947)
Pale Fire (962)
Consonne d’appui, Echo’s fey child (967-8)
Richly rhymed life (970)
July 22 (981)
Two windowpanes (986)
Twice my age (988)
Shadow near the shagbark (990)

Add to this the couplet form of the poem & its symmetrical shape.


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