It is far from clear that the problem of authorship in Pale Fire can only be formulated in the form of the question of who invented whom, since the only possible answer to such a question uncritically presumes not only that identity or sameness is prior to difference, but that identity precludes difference and vice versa. This article sidesteps such questions of originality (and theft) in favor of a mimetic grammar that avoids reducing resemblance to difference and difference to resemblance. Looking to St. Sudarg of Bokay’s “triptych of bottomless light” as an interpretative baseline and metafictional trait of the novel, this article draws upon recent interdisciplinary conversations in philosophical theology and literary studies to subvert more conservative notions of internal unity and originality that delimit many approaches to the novel’s authorial enigmas and discovers in its place an origin that always already in the movement of repetition.
The Mirror and the Icon: An Alternative Reading of Nabokov’s Pale Fire
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v. 22, no. 1