NABOKV-L post 0020476, Fri, 6 Aug 2010 22:37:55 -0600

Re: from Ron Rosenbaum re Pale Firings
Ron Rosenbaum writes:

Dear List Memebers,
> Has anyone else noticed the contradictory logic of B. Boyd and his loyal
> defenders in regard to the role of Hazel Shade in <Pale Fire>?
> On the one hand we are told by Jerry Friedman that Boyd never <really>
> argued for the role for the dead girl's ghost in wriiting/inspiring <Pale
> Fire> or "Pale Fire".

I think you may not have noticed the way gmail marks quotations from the
e-mail being responded to, or you may have mixed me up with John Morris.
The view you're attributing to me has some resemblances to the one I quoted
from him, but it's not like anything I said.

On the other hand we are told with unconvincing muse-ings such as that from
> R.S. Gwynn that, if in fact Boyd did so argue (as most would agree he did),
> he was right.

I think what most would agree on is that Boyd argued that Hazel indirectly
inspired "Pale Fire"--not "wrote", not "dictated" (as you said in your
previous post).

> I agree with Jansy that they are wrong on both counts. I think the problem
> is that Boyd (and many others) are too eager to offer a "solution" to <Pale
> Fire> as if it were some crossword puzzle rather than a luminous numinous
> work of art.

Nabokov did write that he liked "composing riddles with elegant solutions,"
and I think he'd have disagreed with your dichotomy between puzzles and
luminous numinous works of art. That in itself doesn't mean we can be sure
he meant *Pale Fire* to have a solution.

Jerry Friedman

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