Antonsson, Hari. Pale Fire and Old Norse Literature. 2017

Bibliographic title
Pale Fire and Old Norse Literature
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Online Journal
Periodical issue
v. 11
Publication year

Haki Antonsson’s article “Pale Fire and Old Norse Literature” probes the role of Old Norse references and allusions in Pale Fire. The focus exclusively on Old Norse texts that are explicitly mentioned by name in the novel, most significantly poems from the so-called Poetic Edda and to a lesser extent Konungs skuggsjá ('The Royal Mirror'). In particular the article explores how direct references and indirect allusions to this corpus interact with some of the novel's principal themes, such as the 'woman spurned' theme in Kinbote's commentary as well as the sudden and tragic deaths of Shade and Hazel. But prior to Pale Fire the article deals with Old Norse references in Lolita and the short story, Solus Rex (which has been seen as a precursor of a kind to Pale Fire). Here also the emphasis is on the entwining of the Old Norse references with important themes and patterns rather than as simply exotic addition of 'mood-setting' elements.