Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025602, Mon, 11 Aug 2014 22:28:23 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] Parhelia
Carolyn Kunin: “ The parhelion reminds me of two related optical phenomena, the "Brocken Spectre" and "solar glory," which reinforce - to myself, that is - the possibility that VN was referencing Js. Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner...”

Jansy Mello: What an amazing – and pertinent- link between Js. Hogg’s novel and “Pale Fire”, not to mention the Wikipedia photograph of a brocken spectre halloed by glory and a link to a “fourth wall”.

Do you think there’s another reference to be found in “Lolita” ( HH’s “confessions” that were edited and prefaced by John Ray Jr)?

Looking again at one of the pictures of a parhelion, trying to conjecture its relation to Kinbote/Shade as the sun and the moon, another idea popped into my mind. Sometimes Kinbote described himself as basking in the borrowed light of Shade’s sun (there are various, even contradictory, description of that kind in PF). Kinbote informs the reader of his being indicated as “the beaver” ( “castor”) and today I thought about Castor and Pollux in a special way. The twins ( “Dioscories”) were engendered by Leda but one grew from a human’s fertilized egg (Leda’s husband, Tyndareus) and the other from Leda’s encounter with Zeus disguised as a swan. Castor was a mortal, Pollux was immortal. After Castor’s death his loving brother asked their father to unite them in heaven as two stars, forming the constellation named “Gemini”.

If our novelistic Castor (Kinbote) recognized his lack of talent to render Zembla in immortal verse, resorting to the poetic talents of John Shade, the death of the latter would result in their transformation into stars in the artistic firmament – for Kinbote believed his inspiring stories had prodded Shade into recreating Zembla in verse before he could gain access to the poem.

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