NABOKV-L post 0020669, Sat, 4 Sep 2010 18:31:40 -0400

Re: Botkin
*Jerry Friedman* writes: Especially after reading Matt Roth's comments, I'd
like to ask Anthony Stadlen and anyone else who might know: Was I right in
suspecting that Kinbote's mentions of Botkin are "psychologically strange"?
Or are people with such delusions known to refer to their original selves,
not as overtly the same person, but revealing that they still know of some

*JM*:In my opinion, we run the risk of deviating into another set of tracks
when we plan to investigate psychological facts and "realities" following
Nabokov's inventiveness and satirical turn of mind.
What could be the answer for what's "psychologically strange" in Kinbote's
reference to Botkin, outside of the boundaries of Nabokov's novel? The Index
entry that introduces Botkin and the text from CK's note n.247 ( am I
mistaken to assume that Botkin has only made another appearance -
extra-textually?) is necessary to the novelist himself. It serves him to add
a fundamental information, but it leaves a mark that is similar to a navel,
no longer functional but revelatory and non-deletable.

dp: I completely agree with Jansy that it is reductive to try to fit VN's
creation into a single (controversial, at that) diagnosis of Multiple
Personality Disorder. The novel must make sense, but it needn't make *that
particular kind *of sense. I agree, too, that it is important not to lose
sight of the *satirical *dimension of the novel. (Was it a flaw in *Gulliver's
Travels* that Lilliputians don't really exist?)

Of course Kinbote/Botkin's character must maintain a certain kind of
consistency, even if only to make the conceit successful. That said, isn't
it clear that Botkin imagines he is Kinbote, and at the same believes that *
Botkin* is the fake (his "beard," his disguise), created so that he won't be
tracked down and assassinated? (Recall how only the president (or is it the
dean?) knows his secret identity.) I don't see any contradiction in this at
all. In fact, this sort of reversal of "reality" and "fantasy" seems quite
typical for Nabokov, even as early as *Mashen'ka*, although Ganin is able to
return from his soujourn into the remembered past. Luzhin, of course, is a
classic example. Even HH's solipsism can be seen as another variation on
this theme. Or perhaps I missed something in this thread that undermines
such an interpretation?

David Powelstock

On Sat, Sep 4, 2010 at 5:23 PM, Nabokv-L <> wrote:

> Subject:
> Re: [NABOKV-L] THOUGHTS re: Botkin
> From:
> Jansy Berndt de Souza Mello <> <>
> Date:
> Sat, 4 Sep 2010 16:19:22 -0300
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