Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025194, Sat, 15 Mar 2014 11:53:05 -0700

Main characters in PF
The observation was made by Matthew Roth. His words, in full:  MR: 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.” This phrase is fitting if the book is a novel, but Kinbote seems to think he is writing a scholarly edition concerning real people. He might have said “persons” instead, though I dearly wish he had said “personalities.” If I had to guess, I would wager that this is Nabokov’s mistake, rather than an intentional error given to Kinbote. On the other hand, the phrase “this work,” which implies that Shade’s poem and K’s apparatus criticus are all of a piece, nicely reflects Kinbote’s narcissism.

Ah, I see. But the only error I can see in calling the three main characters S, K and G is that, if as Matt says it is the poem and not the novel that is being indexed, the three main characters should by J, S and H (the Shades). hmm - J,K; G,H; and S. Well, well.

The whole thing is moot though, isn't it?, since whoever heard of any fictional work, novel or poem, in which the footnotes are indexed? The very idea, to quote Lady Bracknell, is grotesque and irreligious. Although, now that I think of it, it does happen, in a non-fiction context of course. 

Yes - "this work" is a great dodge, isn't it. But haven't we already debated the question "who wrote the Index"? It has to be Kinbote since Shade, whether shot or not, is out of the picture entirely and Gradus doesn't have a literary bone in his body.

But it does raise the question of who are the main characters from Nabokov's point of view. I suspect it is "G, K, S" after all.



Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu
Visit Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
View Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com

Manage subscription options: http://listserv.ucsb.edu/