Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025185, Wed, 12 Mar 2014 11:09:36 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] RES: [NABOKV-L] Escher in Pale Fire, the poem?

Matt Roth quoted C.Kunin [Carolyn said: “It was the note at the beginning of the index stating that the three main characters were S, C and K that set me on the road to my solving of the riddle.”] and observed that “Actually, the Index note reads, ‘The capital letters G, K, S (which see) stand for the three main characters in this work.’ The interesting question for me is not the letters but Kinbote’s use of the term ‘main characters.’… I would wager that this is Nabokov’s mistake, rather than an intentional error given to Kinbote…”

Jansy Mello: Initially, two idle questions popped up: aren’t the words “main characters” almost synonymous to “capital letters”? In this case, what are they pointing at (the word “index,” in PF, is often used as an “indicator”*)?

Then, when I examined one of my copies of the novel I realized that the letter “S” is missing! How do you explain that?

G, see Gradus.

Gradus, Jakob, 1915-1959; alias Jack Degree, de Grey, d’Argus, Vinogradus, Leningradus, etc

K, see Charles II and Kinbote.

Kinbote, Charles, Dr., an intimate friend of S, his literary adviser, editor and commentator;

Charles II, Charles Xavier Vseslav, last King of Zembla, surnamed The Beloved…

Shade, John Francis, poet and scholar, 1898-1959…


* “Upon stopping above a vineyard, at the rough entrance of an unfinished house, he was shown by the three index fingers of three masons the red roof of Lavender’s villa high up in the ascending greenery on the opposite side of the road.” (why three?)


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