Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023657, Mon, 11 Feb 2013 16:20:32 -0200

Re: fulmerlog:VN Sighting: Michael Chabon on Wes Anderson's
Nabokovian Worlds
Jerry Friedman:I think that Jansy Mello and Ron Rosenbaum have misunderstood Chabon's comment on PF. He didn't say that Kinbote tucked Zembla into the poem; he said K. tucked it into the housing of the poem, that is, his apparatus. Which is much truer. [ ]Another reason that Kinbote is "sexually left-handed" is that it fits with all the mirrors and reflections. A possibility is that it gives him a subject for his fantasy, this country of ancestral alderkings and tolerant bishops. I still think it gives the reader one of a series of deceptions to see through, along with Kinbote's being the king, being insane, being only tolerated by Shade, not being a good scholar.

Jansy Mello: Chabon's comment is: "Vladimir Nabokov, his life cleaved by exile, created a miniature version of the homeland he would never see again and tucked it, with a jeweler's precision, into the housing of John Shade's miniature epic of family sorrow. " As I understood his sentence, even when we agree that the word housing [ the apparatus of Shade's miniature epic] needs to be stressed, the fact that it refers to John Shade's poem but not to the entire book (poem, forweord & commentary, index) tucks Zembla into Shade's "epic," not Nabokov's. Well, this conclusion will be valid, at least, for those who are not Shadeans, as it is my case.

You mentioned that Kinbote is "sexually left-handed" (a homophobic assessment when extracted from the context of metaphors and mirrors created by Kinbote/Nabokov, isn't it?), but Kinbote was also socially "gauche" (clumsy) and non-dexterous.
Wasn't the entire episode of coded signals exchanged between Gradus and Bretwit based on the King's being left-handed?
Btw: Our clumsy Gradus - a mirror-maker of genius, should Sudarg of Bokay be, in fact, related to Gradus - must have been dexterous (deft of hand, instead of "maladroit" and bungling. What fun in VN's world of words!

I quote: "Gradus, deciding to risk it, glanced at the hand in Bretwit's lap: unperceived by its owner, it seemed to be prompting Gradus in a manual whisper. He tried to copy what it was doing its best to convey - mere rudiments of the required sign.
"No, no," said Bretwit with an indulgent smile for the awkward novice. "The other hand, my friend. His Majesty is left-handed, you know."

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