Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020858, Sun, 10 Oct 2010 18:15:59 -0300

[NABOKOV-L] A recurrent typo or a pun?
Stan Kelly-Bootle:..."my Everyman's Pale Fire (1992, ll 376-7, page 46) has "English Lit", the common abbreviation for "Literature," although picky Chicago-Stylish copy editors would insist on adding a period/fullstop: "Lit."! Just as we see "English" shortened to "Eng.". The convention is a useful disambiguator, since "Lit by candle" is not the same as "Lit. by candle." Indeed, you can read...BUT we can't rush to judge the "Litt" you report as, perforce, a typo. IF VN wrote "Litt" then my Everyman's "Lit" has the typo. And, such are the quirks of the Lit. Crit. [sic] Game, that I can offer a perfectly plausible suggestion that VN's "Litt" (if such he wrote) is a punning abbreviation for "Litter" (as in "Trash," "Rubbish.") The answer, of course, lies in VN's original m/s and the subsequent, final draft approved by him. We know VN was a super-careful prof-redder! There are, methinks, healthy morals from this affair. Writers can misspell on purpose or accidentally. Editors can wrongly correct deliberate typos, and overlook inadvertent slips. Eng. and other Lit.s will forever attract disputatious, Kinbotean footnotes/glosses, a point often overlooked by Pale Fire exegetes (excluding Jansy, bien entendu).

JM: My Everyman's must also stem from the same 1992 edition as yours (there is the regular:"First published 1962, first included in Everyman's Library, 1992"). There's no mistake on the mistake (or in VN's playfulness). Perhaps you only checked Shade's poem (his verse is on line 377). The typo (or something else) comes with Kinbote's commentary on page 194 (like me, he is not a native to America and we may excuse him for that?).
I found the misspelling by accident, after having asked our ED to delete or trash one of my postings and then played with the word "litterally" to suggest its literal destination. Thanks, anyway, for having extricated me from the world of exegetes.

Gary Lipon: "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..."

JM: How nice to find your kind words. Swift, Baudelaire and Rabelais are an adequate association to Norman Douglas' limericks.

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