In a message dated 01/05/2008 12:43:09 GMT Standard Time, jansy@AETERN.US writes:
Stephen Blackwell: "I agree with Anthony Stadlen's larger point, which is that by 1948 it was impossible to make any assumptions about the identity or reliability of any Nabokov narrator, no matter how superficially ordinary or omniscient.  In this particular case, this one sentence*, I take the situation to be a variant of free-indirect discourse, where "fault-finding" reflects the attitude of Mrs. Nameless... I think that rather than specify that the narrator attributes moral agency to nature, one might instead suggest that the narrator draws attention to the fact that (nearly?) all human beings attribute such agency to nature..."
* 2nd paragraph. Light does not find fault. People, or God, find fault. To assert that light finds fault is to fall into the Pathetic Fallacy. Therefore, if the boy is "deranged in his mind" because he attributes moral agency to inanimate nature, so is the narrator.
I agree completely with Stephen Blackwell. I did concede, back in December 2004, that some of the narrator's apparent assertions, such as that the young man was "incurably deranged in his mind", would probably be better understood as free indirect discourse, though I did not use this term. The same applies to "fault-finding light". But it remains true, I think, that we are failing as good readers if we accept these terms unquestioningly.
Anthony Stadlen   

Search the Nabokv-L archive with Google

Contact the Editors

All private editorial communications, without exception, are read by both co-editors.

Visit Zembla

View Nabokv-L Policies