NABOKV-L post 0017847, Sat, 7 Mar 2009 20:24:17 -0800

PF fugue made simple: Escape/Chase/Insanity (repeat)

Jansy wrote: In PF, following C.Kunin's hypothesis, the two
characters that share the same body either shrink, hobble, fatten,
love a woman, hate salads and fruit, shave off facial growths, get old
and grey...or, grow tall, lean, young, hairy, are vegetarian, play
ping-pong, love boys (the change must be induced by imbibing golden

Dear Jansy,

I protest -- I don't think any such thing! And since it seems I have
not yet managed express myself clearly, let me try again.

I think Shade -- who is and remains old, fat and misshapen, suffers
a cerebral hemmorhage or "stroke." He does not die, but he does lose
his mind. Following the stroke he loses the inhibitions that had kept
his homosexuality more or less in check. The now uninhibited
suppressed homosexual personality is freed and lives on as "Kinbote."
It is still the same old, fat, misshapen body, but Shade is now a
lunatic and thinks he is someone named Kinbote who he further thinks
is a very glamorous person. He further believes that he is really the
King of Zembla.

I'll repeat that: Shade has gone insane. He is therefore incarcerated
in a mental hospital which he imagines to be a palace in "Zembla" from
which he believes he must as "King Charles" escape. The "crown jewels"
that everyone is trying to find is the index cards on which a poem by
John Shade called Pale Fire, which Sybil and the various faculty
members from the college fear that Shade, having gone mad, will harm
or destroy.

There is no beautiful dashing young Kinbote - - this is who the insane
Shade perceives himself to be, it is not who he is. He is old, fat,
etc. John Shade. There is no Zembla. There is no King Charles.

The simplest way I can think to put it is that the whole thing is a
great big fugue. It is also a pun on the word fugue: Escape/Chase/
Insanity (repeat).


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