Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026279, Thu, 9 Jul 2015 16:48:11 -0500

Re: RES: [NABOKV-L] Pale Fire - Length And Line Numbers?
When I initially split my PF into fourteen line segments, I had card 11
ending after "140 Tugged at by playful death, released again" as well, with
Canto One ending with thirteen cards exactly, but it does seem to me that
there is a double space between "bicycle tires" and " a thread of
subtle pain," which would necessitate that a line be skipped on the index

That double space, which occurs in both of my Vintage International
editions, does not seem to be present in the Everyman's Library 1992
edition of Pale Fire. If the double space is not considered, the first
canto is thirteen index cards long. It seems to be more so a quirk of
printing than a Nabokovian trick.

On Mon, Jul 6, 2015 at 10:34 PM, Jansy Mello <jansy.mello@outlook.com>

> *Mahmhoud Aliamer**: **I searched the archives and the web and I couldn't
> find info on this. Did I do my Pale Fire math wrong? I have an 81 card
> manuscript instead of 80. By my divisions, Canto One is made up of 14 index
> cards not 13 (I've attached a PDF of my Canto One divisions). (Fittingly,
> the fourteenth card contains only one line: "the wonder lingers and the
> shame remains).*
> *Jansy Mello*: The information I can offer you is very concrete and
> “parrotwise”. I picked up the pseudo-facsimile edition with the
> hand-written cards (Edited by Brian Boyd, Gingko Press, 2011) and then I
> counted the cards with the heading “Canto One”: there were thirteen.
> Differently from what you wrote down in your PDF, on Card 11 there are two
> more lines:
> A thread of subtle pain,
> 140 Tugged at by playful death, released again.
> And in Card 12, we also find
> There were dull throbs in my Jurassic green.
> There was no need for card 14. (I remember that I was satisfied by having
> counted the lines according to their rhyme)
> … following Brian Boyd’s words about Shade’s “heroic couplets” and the
> lack of a matching rhyme for the 999th line: “At the same time, by
> virtue of the *Vanessa*, with its crimson-barred wings, he can close off
> the poem with a visual echo of the opening, the red streak on a waxwing's
> wings. The harmonies gently gather, as "the flowing shade and ebbing light"
> (P.996, 69) again draws on the tide-and-shine imagery from the *Timon* passage,
> while not interrupting the relaxed, "sustained / Low hum of harmony"
> (P.963-64, 68) of his close. No wonder Shade is pleased with the way the
> end of his poem is working out. And yet it doesn't seem quite to have
> ended. The poem is in heroic couplets throughout, and the 999th line has no
> matching rhyme.”
> He adds: “After equating the design of his verse and his universe like
> this, Shade would utterly undermine his serene confidence in the deep
> harmony of things--which he plainly seeks as his poem's final note--were he
> to leave the last rhyme unfinished. He must surely plan one more line to
> round the poem off. But as he accepts Kinbote's invitation for a drink
> and walks across the lane to the Goldsworth house, he is shot and killed by
> an intruder. He has asserted that if his private universe scans right, so
> does the verse of galaxies divine, but suddenly the rhyme is broken off
> forever, his confidence cruelly mocked, and the meaningless breach of a
> grotesque death substituted for the promise of continuity and harmony.
> http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/boydpf6.htm (Zembla: Shade and
> Shape in Pale Fire by Brian Boyd)
> Here is another take: *Bruce Stone*: *Editorial In(ter)ference: Errata
> and Aporia in Lolita Adducing error* .
> “…As Brian Boyd notes in *Nabokov's Pale Fire: The Magic of Artistic
> Discovery*, the first sentence of Nabokov's 1962 novel contains a joke,
> the upshot of which is lost on both the novel's narrator, Charles Kinbote,
> and, according to Boyd, a good number of graduate students. Of course, the
> joke in question surfaces in the Foreword, when Kinbote describes Shade's
> work as “a poem in heroic couplets, of nine hundred ninety-nine lines”
> (Pale Fire 13) but fails to account for the numerical incompatibility of
> these descriptors (by definition, couplets come in even numbers) (Boyd
> 2001, 17). The sentence has the effect of a malapropism, which immediately
> conveys, if not a daftness, then a troubling deafness on the part of the
> speaker; Kinbote's account of the poem and the tragedy surrounding its
> composition seems strangely askew from the very start. Surprisingly, when
> Nabokov employed this opening gambit in Pale Fire, it might have been his
> second time experimenting with the device: Lolita, I would argue, begins in
> nearly identical fashion.” *Cf. Miranda 3 (2010) Lolita : Examining “the
> Underside of the Weave”*
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