Alexey Sklyarenko:[   ] Btw., Oscar Wilde stole Klara Milich (the gifted actress who takes poison before appearing in her last stage performance) from Turgenev renaming her Sybil Vane in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Nevertheless, in VN's story The Vane Sisters the spirit of Oscar Wilde accuses Cynthia's and Sybil's dead parents of ‘plagiatisme’.”

Jansy Mello:  An excellent catch, A.S.  It indicates the complexity of Nabokov's humour and irony, here directed towards a talking spirit, progressing from Oscar Wilde’s plagiarism (his copying from Turgenev), to his accusing the parents of Nabokov's characters of being plagiarists. The meandering flow from Porlock, Coleridge and embedded dreams, to James Joyce was familiar to me, but the information about Turgeneve's Klara Milich was a greart surprise.


I reread the short-story with the “prophetic” emphasis on icicles, umber, shades, ghosts ( I'm clearly refering to "Pale Fire"). Already in the first paragraphs we read:

" I had stopped to watch a family of brilliant icicles drip-dripping from the eaves of a frame house. So clear-cut were their pointed shadows on the white boards behind them that I was sure the shadows of the falling drops should be visible too. But they were not...I walked on in a state of raw awareness that seemed to transform the whole of my being into one big eyeball rolling in the world's socket."

In the end, the solution to an acrostic, hidden in the story's last paragraph, serves to reveal that the narrator was all the time under the influence of the two sisters's ghosts:  Icicles by Cynthia. Meter from me Sybil.

In a way, the ghosts steal from the narrator his liberty and his rights as an author, as if condemning him to permanent unconscious plagiarism).

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