Annotations by Alexey Sklyarenko


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

method A, method B, Beirut & Marrowsky in Pale Fire

Submitted by Alexey Sklyarenko on Tue, 12/10/2019 - 05:53

At the beginning of Canto Four of his poem John Shade (the poet in VN’s novel Pale Fire, 1962) says that he will spy on beauty as none has spied on it yet and mentions two methods of composing, A and B:


Now I shall spy on beauty as none has
Spied on it yet. Now I shall cry out as
None has cried out. Now I shall try what none
Has tried. Now I shall do what none has done.
And speaking of this wonderful machine:

backyard auto-da-fé in Pale Fire

Submitted by Alexey Sklyarenko on Thu, 12/05/2019 - 14:36

In his Foreword to Shade’s poem 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) describes Shade destroying his drafts and mentions the wind-borne black butterflies of that backyard auto-da-fé:


symbols & signs in Signs and Symbols

Submitted by Alexey Sklyarenko on Wed, 11/27/2019 - 16:36

In VN’s story Signs and Symbols (1948) the action takes place on the boy’s twentieth (or, perhaps, twenty-first) birthday. In his memoir essay Muni (1926) Hodasevich says that, when he and Muni met and became friends, they were only inexperienced boys of twenty or a little older and mentions les simvolov (a forest of symbols) in which they easily got lost: