Sorry. While agreeing that there indeed was an "American Edition" of the 'Herald Tribune' in June, 1962, Dmitri alerted me to a typo in my transcription of the Dolbier interview. It should be "book", not  "books": "[MM] discovered more of the book...". When I searched for interview mss. at the Berg Collection about twelve years ago, the Dolbier ms. didn't seem to be there. But it may very well exist, and we would all be privileged to have the remarks Nabokov made on this occasion in full. At that time, seven weeks after the book's publication, he seems to have begun suspecting that many readers would not get the novel's "plums" and that in this special case a little help might be appropriate.
One more footnote about the date palm in New Wye's Shakespeare Alley. In her book 'Véra' (p.269-70), Stacy Schiff tells that in September 1960, towards the end of the couple's stay in the Los Angeles area, "Véra undertook several arcane research assignments: She compiled a catalogue of tree descriptions--'a hoar-leaved willow,' 'a cloven pine,' 'a knotty-entrailed oak'--in Shakespeare. She set the word-golf records of which Kinbote brags..." So indeed the trees do come straight out of Shakespeare. Where else could they come from, as there is no Shakespeare Alley anywhere and probably could not be one for reasons of climate and soil? But the date of this is interesting. Immediately after he had handed Kubrick his abridged 'Lolita' screenplay, Nabokov began to think about his next novel which was to become 'Pale Fire'. As Brian Boyd tells us, it was properly "conceived" a few weeks later on his way back to Europe, November 2-7 on the Queen Elizabeth. That means Nabokov knew even in the initial stages that he wanted his emerging New Wye to have a Shakespeare Alley and that he went about it very deliberately. So the phoenix will not be a slip of attention. It seems to me he wanted Kinbote to describe the alley regardless of its being botanically unlikely. My guess is that the idea of having all Shakespearean trees lined up appealed to him but that he needed a botanically reckless madman to actually imagine it. Moreover, he had to supply him with a motive to go there in spite of his botanical indifference, and he gave him one in the person of the young gardener who tended the trees.
Dieter Zimmer, Berlin
Nov 15, 2006

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