SKB wrote to Alexey: "Your
‘coincidences’ are remarkably UNremarkable as proved by Victor Fet’s recent
gematria, the irony of which has escaped some recipients! Underwood Dudley’s
book on Numerology (is that Crank or Krank?) proves, for instance, that given
ANY personal name, there exists a character-numerical mapping that gives that
name a total of 666 ..."
His observations reminded me of a problem I
must bring up in relation to Krank's ill-fated calculation ( I promise
it's not a Fetist exercise in tautology, nor a third alternative
to CHW's listing, but I may be mistaken) .
Please pick up pencil and paper and to discover
Kinbote's real age at the time of his death ( you all remember how Kinbote
was confused with the dates...)*.
We must check if he was 45 or 44
by a strictly scientific exercise.
1. Count how many cedars or juniper trees there
were in Shade's backyard ( >0 and <10);
2. To get even with that conclusion, now multiply
their number by
3. Add five to the total you obtained
4. Multiply the result by fifty ( almost
like Shade's calculations, according to which five minutes are equal
to forty ounces. Nevertheless here shall be following Gradus' advances
using Zemblan minutes and
5. Since Shade's birthday, as Kinbote's, was
in July, you must now add 1756 ( ounces or
6. Subtract from this total result, the year in
which Kinbote was born ( use its 4
7.The first of the three digits you have obtained
corresponds to the number of Juniper trees you saw in Shade's backyard. The
other two shall reveal Kinbote's age today.
8. To find out what Kinbote's age was in
October 19,1959 you must now subtract
47 from the last two remaining digits.
*- Kinbote, in his note to line 167, "There
was a time, etc.", revealed Shade's birth date as July 5 and, the
year in which "Pale Fire" was written being 1959, concluded
that it was "his sixtieth birthday". Next he corrected his slip and added:
"change to sixty-first".
We must keep in mind that also
Nabokov made a similar miscalculation. He confessed,in
Speak,Memory that "Among the anomalies of a
memory, whose possessor and victim should never have tried to become an
autobiographer, the worst is the inclination to equate in retrospect my age with
that of the century. This has led to a series or remarkably consisten
chronological blunders... I was born in April 1899, and naturally, during the
first third of, say, 1903, was roughly three years old; but in August of that
year, the sharp '3' revealed to me...should refer to the century's age, not to
mine, which was '4' and as square and resilient as a rubber
**-We know that Shade began "Canto Two" in
the 6th Sunday after Trinity, and that it was the 3999th time in
which... but let's skip that and continue to add five,instead