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Anya v Strane Chudes, Alice Hargreave's copy, up for auction

Submitted by carolynkunin on Sun, 11/26/2023 - 11:04

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, complete with bizarre conjectures concerning change of name from Alice to Anya.

Poem using Pale Fire's end rhymes released

Submitted by emilia_brahm on Wed, 05/31/2023 - 22:02

Hello- I wanted to alert you to an excellent Nabokov-inspired book. Tom Will's new epic poem, 'Pale Townie', uses all of the end rhymes from Pale Fire as its structure. I haven't liked any contemporary poetry like I have his poems, which 'are wet and alive like fish just freed from the hook, and they swim in electric diamantine patterns despite (or because of?) the atrazine in the water.' That's from my review of the book, linked here in case you'd like to learn more:

Star, Starover, Starov

Submitted by MARYROSS on Thu, 05/04/2023 - 17:35

Starover Blue:


We are first introduced to Prof. Blue in Shade’s poem as

 “the index, lean and glum/College astronomer Starover Blue." (L 189)


When I first read the poem, I thought, ‘What’s the point of this children’s hand game?’ The point, of course, is that the astronomer “points” to the stars. Stars are a motif in PF.


Gradus = Grail?

Submitted by MARYROSS on Tue, 04/11/2023 - 15:55


I have been looking into Masonic/Rosicrucian motifs in Pale Fire.  Both secret societies call themselves "gradual,"  and have systems of "graded" "degrees" of initiation and progression towards spiritual knowledge/perfection.  Rather like the well-known textbook on prosody, Gradus ad Parnassus,   which are "steps" to achieving the heights of poetry. 


1948 Newspaper Column, Source for Lolita

Submitted by matthew_roth on Mon, 02/27/2023 - 16:38

Dear list,

Late last year, I was digging around and found this source for much of the Beardsley Star "Column for Teens" that appears in Part 2, Chapter 8 of Lolita. Nabokov borrowed most of the text from a 14 May 1948 column by Elizabeth Woodward. The copy I found was published in the Dayton Herald. I'm including the text below. The capitalized text represents phrases borrowed by VN and the brackets represent VN's slight changes to the column's actual wording.

Matt Roth