NABOKV-L post 0027139, Mon, 8 Aug 2016 19:46:04 -0300

[Queries] Tension film: Staring fish and amusement parks in PF
and TT. Engine Power stereotypes - correction
Former posting: "... I noticed Kinbote's justifiable impatience with the noises from an amusement park which emerges at specific moments of his writing the foreword or commentary. I remember having read that part of the latter was drafted before he retreated into his Cedarn cave but, until now, I felt no need to situate the first writings in contrast to the later ones, those that refer more immediately to the "now" (the "transparent time") of a disturbing music. Actually, all the four selected lines were set down in Cedarn, although n.4 suggests a different count of time (as it antecedes the other three sentences but is offered in one of his notes to the poem instead of the foreword).*"

Present posting: I came across a new approach to the dynamics of "Pale Fire" as presented by Andrew Ferguson, who emphasizes the novel's "patchwork" writing in the specific context of play.# Cf. A.Ferguson "Mirror World, Minus World: Glitching Nabokov’s Pale Fire" at


In one of his examples he cites the references to an amusement park and adds one about a carrousel that I didn't bring up at the time**.

In his words:

"Kinbote begins with a descriptive bibliography and calendar of composition; though he does not provide similar materials for his own work, it is possible to piece together much of his schedule.// For instance, the bizarre remark on the first page that “There is a very loud amusement park rightin front of my present lodgings” must date from his arrival at the cabin, for soon after he will discover that the source is actually a radio belonging to other campers. Other parts of the Foreword, such as his comments on page proofs and galleys, are necessarily emendations; as these precede a later reference to the “carrousel”* that he believes to bepart of the amusement park, it is clear that the document is patchwork,with blocks of text inserted where necessary; any errors or contradictions are roughly altered or entirely ignored.This writing practice reflects Kinbote’s perpetually evolving framework of paranoid delusion, at the core of which is his secret identity: CharlesXavier, exiled king of Zembla. During his few months of acquaintancewith Shade, this fantasy metastasizes into obsession, to the point that he believes Shade is actually writing this story..."

I had departed from the traditional readerly expectation of discovering the novel's discrete timeline, related to a minor aspect of Kinbote's Cedarn Cave writings and the process of editing John Shade's poems. After reading A. Ferguson's observations about Charles Kinbote's "patchwork" text (and a lot more about authors and readers), I recovered an old intuition, experienced while I was watching my grandkids play videogames (not Pokemon Go, not even X-box or Playstation 1,2,3 games...) and following them through the different "non-evolutive" stages of Spong Bob's adventures, namely that V.Nabokov's novel "ADA" could be filmed as a game of this kind, with its various levels and diverging timelines running in parallel to each other, instead of becoming a regular movie (this film project was being discussed at that time...was it ten or more years ago?).

# "This article considers different experiences available to the reader of Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire by exploring the novel through concepts familiar from videogaming, such as the warp, the glitch, and the Let’s Play, developing particular parallels with the Nintendo game Super Mario Bros. All of these potential modes of experience are comprised in the playerly text, which serves as a conduit linking together a work’s past, present, and future readers." (A.Ferguson)

*1."A methodical man, John Shade usually copied out his daily quota of completed lines at midnight [ ] he preserved the date of actual creation rather than that of second or third thoughts. There is a very loud amusement park right in front of my present lodgings." / 2. "The calendar says I had known him only for a few months but there exist friendships which develop their own inner duration, their own eons of transparent time, independent of rotating, malicious music."/ 3. "Nay, I shall even assert (as our shadows still walk without us) that there remained to be written only one line of the poem (namely verse 1000) which would have been identical to line 1 and would have completed the symmetry of the structure, with its two identical central parts, solid and ample, forming together with the shorter flanks twin wings of five hundred verses each, and damn that music. Knowing Shade’s combinational turn of mind and subtle sense of harmonic balance, I cannot imagine that he intended to deform the faces of his crystal by meddling with its predictable growth."/4. "This describes rather well the "chance inn," a log cabin, with a tiled bathroom, where I am trying to coordinate these notes. At first I was greatly bothered by the blare of diabolical radio music from what I thought was some kind of amusement park across the road — it turned out to be camping tourists — and I was thinking of moving to another place, when they forestalled me." (note to lines 609-614)

**"...not like the shaky little affair on which my typewriter is precariously enthroned now, in this wretched motor lodge, with that carrousel inside and outside my head, miles away from New Wye." (Foreword, last paragraph)... and I would like to add ( in connection to carrousel/ loud fan and colored lights) something by John Shade:

"Nor can one help the exile, the old man

610 Dying in a motel, with the loud fan

Revolving in the torrid prairie night

And, from the outside, bits of colored light

Reaching his bed like dark hands from the past

Offering gems; and death is coming fast."

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