Annotations by Alexey Sklyarenko

Description

Please read Alexey Sklyarenko's annotations on Pale FireAda and other Nabokov works here.

Queen of England & her right glove in Pale Fire

Submitted by Alexey Sklyarenko on Sun, 10/24/2021 - 19:18

In a Monday issue of The New York Times Gradus (Shade’s murderer in VN’s novel Pale Fire, 1962) reads (as imagined by Kinbote, Shade’s mad commentator who imagines that he is Charles the Beloved, the last self-exiled king of Zembla) about the Queen of England who, during a visit to a museum in Whitehorse, walked to a corner of the White Animals Room, removed her right glove and, with her back turned to several evidently observant people, rubbed her forehead and one of her eyes:

 

puddles in basement room, something Stygian & Lethe in Pale Fire

Submitted by Alexey Sklyarenko on Thu, 10/21/2021 - 17:46

In Canto Three of his poem John Shade (the poet in VN’s novel Pale Fire, 1962) mentions a dead school chum who in a blend of jauntiness and gloom points at the puddles in his basement room:

 

For as we know from dreams it is so hard

To speak to our dear dead! They disregard

Our apprehension, queaziness and shame -

The awful sense that they're not quite the same.

shadow of waxwing & Lap of Lord in Pale Fire

Submitted by Alexey Sklyarenko on Tue, 10/19/2021 - 07:08

At the beginning (and, presumably, at the end) of his poem John Shade (the poet in VN’s novel Pale Fire, 1962) compares himself to the shadow of the waxwing:

 

I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
By the false azure in the windowpane;
I was the smudge of ashen fluff--and I
Lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky. (ll. 1-4)

 

something Stygian, Lethe & Tanagra dust in Pale Fire

Submitted by Alexey Sklyarenko on Mon, 10/18/2021 - 08:28

According to Kinbote (in VN’s novel Pale Fire, 1962, Shade’s mad commentator who imagines that he is Charles the Beloved, the last self-exiled king of Zembla), we all know those dreams in which something Stygian soaks through and Lethe leaks in the dreary terms of defective plumbing:

 

New Wye in Pale Fire

Submitted by Alexey Sklyarenko on Sat, 10/16/2021 - 09:37

In VN’s novel Pale Fire (1962) the poet Shade and his commentator Kinbote (who imagines that he is Charles the Beloved, the last self-exiled king of Zembla) live in New Wye (a small University town). “Wye” is the English name of the letter Y. New Wye seems to be a cross between New York and New Moscow, as in his lecture on chess Ostap Bender (the main character in Ilf and Petrov’s novels "The Twelve Chairs" and "The Golden Calf") calls Vasyuki (a fictitious Volgan town):

 

red fufa, Oswin Bretwit & Colonel Starbottle in Pale Fire

Submitted by Alexey Sklyarenko on Wed, 10/13/2021 - 08:41

According to Kinbote (in VN’s novel Pale Fire, 1962, Shade’s mad commentator who imagines that he is Charles the Beloved, the last self-exiled king of Zembla), the King escaped from Zembla clad in bright red clothes. A policeman asked him to take off his red fufa and red cap: