----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, October 26, 2002 11:10 AM
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Pale Fire: Boyd/Alexander/Kunin
Dear Mr Nguyen,
It will take a while to
completely read and understand your thesis, but I do want to let you know that
even on this forum you are, if in the minority, not alone. I have wondered if
Nabokov could be aware of what has been made of Pale Fire in the past 40
years, whether he would be a) pleased that no one had understood the book or b)
disturbed that no one had understood it. I should think b, because the answer as
you say, has to be a simple one, by inference, and yet in 40 years no one has
found that answer.
But, actually, I think some people have found the
answer. But since Nabokov's intention was for the solution to be an
anti-scholarly one (as you point out Kinbote's failings should be a warning to
any would-be commentators) the answer hasn't been published by anyone. Where is
the non-scholar to publish an interpretation? I am unusual in being both
academically trained and un-academically inclined.
interpretation" has been discovered by at least one other person. I do not know
who that person is, but an internet "Cliffs Notes"-like site called
PinkMonkey.com does describe Shade as an aging alchoholic who preys sexually on
his students. That is put more harshly than I would, but is essentially what I
Since you singled out for interpretation the scene of Fleur
in the cheval-glass, I would like to post here the description of the
cheval-glass in the work I think is the key to understanding Pale
Next in the course of their review of the chamber, the searchers
came to the cheval-glass, into whose depth they looked with an involuntary
horror. But it was so turned as to show them nothing but the rosy glow playing
on the roof, and the fire sparkling in a hundred repetitions along the glazed
front of the presses, and their own pale and fearful countenances stooping to
This of course is from Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange
Case of Jekyll and Hyde.
P.S. The presses mentioned are glass presses that Dr Jekyll used to
manufacture his own glass accoutrments for his chemical experiments, so the
room in which the cheval glass is located is his private glass works.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Pale Fire: Boyd/Alexander/Kunin Thread Date: Fri, 25 Oct 2002
08:19:06 -0700 From: Thomas Nguyen <thomasnguyen25@HOTMAIL.COM>
<mailto:thomasnguyen25@HOTMAIL.COM> To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
----------------- Message requiring your approval (25 lines)
I recently resumed checking this list and was pleased to
see that criticism of Brian
Boyd's reading of Pale Fire continues to arise.
Last year, I posted my senior thesis
which provides a
discussion of Boyd's reading and a possible alternative way of
the novel. Due to some difficulties with a computer virus, I
some people were reluctant to open the file and I received no
responses to the
paper as a result.
My findings support, in part,
Victoria Alexander's review of Boyd's book, and goes on
to provide a more
structured approach to the novel focusing more on the actual
interpretation and question forming. I have reposted it on my website
pdf format for review. You may view it
I would appreciate any
comments from people interested in this ongoing discussion.
Dave Andrews, who made the following statement, should see that I as
share his view of the general trends of Nabokov criticism:
whole Boyd-Alexander affair, of which I have read the whole, is sad.
is no reason for this type of nastiness. Has anyone on this listserve
ever pointed out
EXPLICITLY how Nabokovians have both reputations for being
particular reputations for petty sniping? Here you see the
reason. Perhaps the
"Master's" example need not always be followed.