Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023371, Mon, 8 Oct 2012 18:47:04 +0000

On the "next babe cry" point, I do not really see a difficulty. The line does not say when Maud died, merely that she was alive when Hazel was born (who else could the 'next babe' be?)

I just don't see it as conflicting in any way what Kinbote says.

On 8 Oct 2012, at 18:27, "Jansy" <jansy@AETERN.US><mailto:jansy@AETERN.US>> wrote:

Matt Toth [to Jansy: It might have been one of those ancient houses in New England] "... it’s a small point, but I think Jerry Friedman and I, in a series of posts a few years back, pretty firmly established that New Wye is not in New England but rather is located in the general vicinity of Harrisonburg, Virginia. https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A3=ind0803&L=NABOKV-L&E=8bit&P=274845&B=--&T=text%2Fhtml;%20charset=UTF-8&XSS=3&header=1
Jansy Mello [ to M.Roth]: Thanks for the clarification. I think I had Robert Frost in mind!

Jansy Mello [ to Barrie Akind Hang on a moment! The Shade residence was not on campus but some miles away. Is it so odd that an old New England house not on campus should have three bedrooms plus two studies? ...Or am I missing something?] Barrie, the odd thing is Shade mentioning that Maud "lived to see the next babe cry" and a certain consensus on that he must have meant Hazel (who was sixteen when Maud died). Also odd is keeping her room (close to Hazel's) as a shrine, or "sanctuary".
Cf. Lines 90-91 " She lived to hear the next babe cry. Her room/ We’ve kept intact..
and, also, CK,on line 230:..."sixteen-year-old Hazel was involved in some appalling "psychokinetic" manifestations... the poltergeist meant to impregnate the disturbance with the identity of Aunt Maud who had just died; the first object to perform was the basket in which she had once kept her half-paralyzed Skye terrier ...Sybil had had the animal destroyed soon after its mistress’s hospitalization, incurring the wrath of Hazel who was beside herself with distress. One morning this basket shot out of the "intact" sanctuary ..."

When writing his comments to lines 86-90 ("Aunt Maud"), Charles Kinbote informs that she was "Samuel Shade's sister. At her death, Hazel (born 1934) was not exactly a "babe" as implied in line 90."
The reader has only access to the (not always reliable) Kinbote's informations.Apparently the idea that Hazel is the implied babe stems from him.
John Shade was killed in July l959, during his writing of "Pale Fire," when he reminisces about his daughter's swing in the garden (the poet lets us know that the tree where it hung has grown significantly since then)* - and refers to the aforementioned "babe."** Kinbote's note informs us that Aunt Maud died when Hazel was 16, so it must have taken place in 1950.
Hazel, herself, died in March 1957, when she was 23***. All these invented dates must form a pattern that eludes my understanding (as it often (too often) happens.
* "I had a favorite young shagbark there/..../ It is now stout and rough; it has done well." (49-54)
"White butterflies turn lavender as they/Pass through its shade where gently seems to sway/The phantom of my little daughter’s swing." (55-57)
The same tree that's mentioned in Shade's first canto, reappears in the end (lines 990-991), closely associated with shades, phantoms, shadows
"Where are you? In the garden. I can see/ Part of your shadow near the shagbark tree."
I associate these phantom shades not to supernatural ghosts, but to Shade's (and VN's?) experiences of loss being relived in the process of remembering the past.

** :I wonder if it is relevant that, in close proximity to the crying baby, Shade chose to apply the verb "impregnate" (meaning "to saturate" or "to imbue", not "fertilize" or "to make pregnant"...) while he describes a poltergeist's pranks related to Maud's identity?

*** "...in October 1958, a year and a half after Hazel's death, he has his own near-death experience during a sudden collapse after giving a public lecture. Returning from this blackout, he feels sure he has slipped into death and back, and has seen there, "dreadfully distinct / Against the dark, a tall white fountain."(C) 1999 Brian Boyd All rights reserved. ISBN: 0-691-00959-7. Cf. Nabokov's Pale Fire<http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/b/boyd-pale.html> www.nytimes.com/books/first/b/boyd-pale.html<http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/b/boyd-pale.html> -

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