----- Original Message -----
From: Andrew Brown
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Saturday, November 23, 2002 5:59 PM
Subject: Re: reply to Mr Brown Pale Fire Hazel

Ms. Kunin,
I have to say that I join you in not being able to see any postumous influence of Hazel Shade.  One of the few instances I can think of in which some distinct non-human entity plays a role in PF is that red admirable that flutters for a few moments ahead of John Shade and Charles Kinbote as they walk toward Kinbote's house where the murderer is waiting. I think some have interpreted that as Hazel's spirit. If anything, I see it as Nabokov's signature, or spirit, in some sense, similar to the scene in Pnin where the narrator and one of the other guests at that country house in Vermont (I don't have the book at hand) are walking in the woods and see a flurry of butterflies in a marsh. One of the characters mentions that a third person known to both of them would know what those butterflies or moths are called, and the other walker says that he thinks that third person's interest in lepidoptera is something of a pose.
I cannot see Hazel as having a hand in writing any portion of PF, whether foreword, poem, commentary or index. And I cannot believe, as some have said, that John Shade wrote the index.
----- Original Message -----
From: D. Barton Johnson
Sent: Saturday, November 23, 2002 2:27 PM
Subject: Fw: reply to Mr Brown Pale Fire Hazel

----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Saturday, November 23, 2002 9:45 AM
Subject: reply to Mr Brown

Dear Mr Brown,

The stanza serves to point up Hazel's "outsiderness." The term roommate is casual collegiate terminology like coed. Casual for Shade, who, as an oldster, is separated from student life. As casual as the use of the term would be to a Timofey Pnin, who had long ceased to be too much aware of students on the campus.

Yes, you are right. That is one possible interpretation. But that's to forget that Nabokov is a master of deception, self-admittedly so. I don't think the reader can ever go wrong asking if he is being deceived.

This is why Shade's choice of the word roommate has been accepted without question for 40 years. Not because millions of readers around the world have missed a clue to Shade's presumed philandering nature.

At the risk of seeming presumptuous, I do think millions of readers (or certainly thousands) have missed many clues to Shade's second nature.  Perhaps no one reader can see everything that is potentially in this novel. I, for example, cannot detect Hazel's posthumous influences no matter how hard I look.

Carolyn Kunin