Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L discussion


A place for continuing the NABOKV-L discussion online (subscribe)

By john_behan, 2 May, 2024

Dear Friends:

I write with a bit of speculation about an influence on Pale Fire and a request for corroboration, falsification, and theorizing. 

Not being an academic, I don’t know whether this has been noted before: I do not have access to an academic library. If, as is likely, I am not the first to make these connections, any directions to the relevant literature would be greatly appreciated.

By MARYROSS, 30 April, 2024

Hudibras and Freemasonry


Line 629: The fate of beasts 

Above this the poet wrote and struck out: 

The madman's fate


I am not sure this trivial variant has been worth commenting; indeed, the whole passage about the activities of the IPH would be quite Hudibrastic had its pedestrian verse been one foot shorter.  

Pale Fire, p. 181


By MARYROSS, 13 March, 2024

Masons present their teachings through symbols and rituals, which they feel presents more of an overall gestaltische absorption than mere words. The symbols are visual illustrations of the basic precepts, called “emblamata.” From several online sources I have deduced the 33 main symbols. Twenty-seven of these may be found in Pale Fire. What are the chances of that?!


 (Not found are: Keystone, Acacia sprig, Trestle Board, Anchor, Ark, Pavement, gavel, 24” Gauge, Tyler’s Sword)


By Alain Champlain, 6 February, 2024

I've been wondering about a detail in The Vane Sisters:

The lean ghost, the elongated umbra cast by a parking meter upon some damp snow, had a strange ruddy tinge; this I made out to be due to the tawny red light of the restaurant sign above the sidewalk[...]

By carolynkunin, 26 November, 2023

Having apparently misplaced my old copy of "Ada," I just yesterday received a replacement. Recalling that the Family Tree that precedes the novel (on pages negative 5-4) captured my interest in the old days, I spent some time perusing it.

By carolynkunin, 26 November, 2023

Alice Hargreave's own copy of Sirin's 1923 translation of Alice in Wonderland with delightful illustrations by S.V. Zalshupin will be auctioned by Potter & Potter this Thursday, November 30. It is expected to fetch between $10,000-$15,000. A full description of Lot 82  can be found at https://auctions.potterauctions.com/Catalog.aspx?auctionid=1168, complete with bizarre conjectures concerning change of name from Alice to Anya.

By Catagela_adoceta, 24 October, 2023

I have been playing with a searchable text of "Lolita".  Searches on a color that's also a plant are sometimes interesting.

In Humbert's poem that he has Quilty read, there's a line "the awfulness of love and violets". Why violets? There are 8 more occurences of "violet":