Jerry Friedman: "Forward" for
"foreword" is a common spelling error[...] I doubt that anything about Kinbote's
impels this error.
JM: I was suggesting a connection
bt. Kinbote and his invention, Gradus. A written text may have a
"suggestive" effect that strikes readers in a particular manner.
Like Jensen's "Gradiva", Gradus is stealthily
moving forward with an "aggr-essive" intent. Kinbote wants Gradus to coincide
with Shade's penning of his poem. Such a
"foreword thrust" is a dominant feature in Pale Fire. Gradus' ghostly reality is
manifest in CK's last lines (before the Index - and when was it
inserted?): "But whatever happens,
wherever the scene is laid, somebody, somewhere, will quietly set out — somebody
has already set out, somebody still rather far away is buying a ticket, is
boarding a bus, a ship, a plane, has landed, is walking toward a million
photographers, and presently he will ring at my door — a bigger, more
respectable, more competent Gradus."
You are earnestly hoping that "some people got
the o with the Hungarian 'long umlaut'[ Cf. SKB: note that o: stands
here for ‘o’ with the Hungarian umlaut] but I don't get
your "long" point. I hope I understood your
former reference to a "symbolic reading", though, brought up right after
you spoke of "overlapping" images/sentences! I greatly enjoyed your
Do you think that
Nabokov, instead of always making them explicit, favored
"impending metaphors"? Like a kind of :
"when I confront
you with overlapping visions, it is your task to find
your own metaphors to render them in words"?
SK-Bootle: I always took ‘The Big Maybe’ to refer to
‘Life after Death’ rather than Death itself [...] ... there’s no IF in
Death. But the great ‘Hereinafter’ mystery surely persists as the dominant theme
in human ruminations [...] Even for devout Zemblan Catholics like Kinbote, or
Danish/Elizabethan Christians like Hamlet [ Peut-être ou ne pas peut-être, c’est
pas la question,SK-B], the Afterlife can be truly terrifying. I also love
Fitzgerald’s version of Omar Khayyam’s [...] Thou wilt not with Predestination
round/ Enmesh me, and impute my Fall to Sin?
JM: Kinbote ( in Humbert's case this is clearly stated by him)
expressed their hellish fears directly and could not believe in a
"felix culpa" nor hope for "salvation", although they kept
their faith in an extraneous "punishment". They seem predestined
to live in the worst of the impossible worlds.