NABOKV-L post 0020857, Sun, 10 Oct 2010 10:14:55 -0400

Re: Norman Douglas

On Oct 9, 2010, at 12:12 AM, Jansy Berndt de Souza Mello wrote:

> You must read ND's commentary to limerick 20 carefully to enjoy the
> fun...

> Limerick #20
> There was a young man of Loch Leven
> Who went for a walk about seven.
> He fell into a pit
> That was brimful of shit,
> And now the poor buggar's in heaven.
> Commentary:
> "This faulty rime must have been concocted by an Englishman or
> American; no native of the country would think of making "Loch
> Leven" go together with "Heaven," save so far as natural scenery is
> concerned.

I enjoy very much Jansy's find. Partly because it comes as a result of
a close reading of a critic who, although obviously widely read
himself and artful in his prose, nonetheless comes to very different
conclusions regarding Pale Fire. That he should wisely, unwittingly
perhaps, point out a significant model for Kinbote's notes is
amusingly ironic. I note especially how the quoted line suggests
Kinbote's take on the prosody of the name Baudelaire:

Line 231: How ludicrous, etc.

A beautiful variant, with one curious gap, branches off at this point
in the draft (dated July 6):

Strange Other World where all our still-born dwell,
And pets, revived, and invalids, grown well,
And minds that died before arriving there:
Poor old man Swift, poor —-, poor Baudelaire

What might that dash stand for? Unless Shade gave prosodic value to
the mute e in "Baudelaire," which I am quite he would never have done
in English verse (cp. "Rabelais," line 501), the name required here
must scan as a trochee.

Admiringly yours,
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