Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020831, Tue, 5 Oct 2010 18:20:40 +0100

Re: THOUGHT: the whole codology
I would say that Nabokov was playing (emphasis on that word) with hermeneutics
and the hermenauts (amongst whom Freud was captain), if that matters. What we
should now ask is why codology matters so much, not so much to VN (though it
does seem to matter a great deal to him) but to us.

From: G S Lipon <glipon@INNERLEA.COM>
Sent: Mon, 4 October, 2010 20:06:45
Subject: [NABOKV-L] THOUGHT: the whole codology

On Oct 3, 2010, at 5:04 PM, James Twiggs wrote:

In Pale Fire, thanks to the proliferation of clues, allusions, and apparent
storylines, we can never be certain of anything--not even of whether our
uncertainty is justified or not. I think I'm agreeing with Gary Lipon on this,
but we need to remember that the uncertainty interpretation of Pale Fire goes
back a long way.

I would not want to be seen as claiming to be the first reader to write about
the uncertainty abiding in Pale Fire. Hardly.
But since the issue is raised I guess I do feel I can claim some primacy,
perhaps, in seeing the need for, and a way to, reconcile the
transformational-ism limned by Matt Roth's researches; with Nabokov's dictum:
that Botkin was the author, first espoused by Mary McCarthy, but supported by
the text, and insisted upon recently by Ron Rosenbaum.

Botkin is the author of Kinbote's notes. Botkin enjoys going about pretending
to be Kinbote. Botkin composes Kinbote's notes in a way that suggests that Shade
turns into Kinbote as alter-ego. Is this original and deeply insightful, or
rather obvious and to be readily accepted? Does someone else also deserve divine
credit? Is there another way of interpreting the top-most level, the whole

I guess I think this insight is the brighter: whatever other reasons he might
have, Botkin wants to show the Shade's marriage, and Sybil, in an altogether
different light.

humbly yours,
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