Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026462, Sun, 20 Sep 2015 23:02:05 +0000

Re: Lines 1000-1001 in Pale Fire
The suggestion of a last line collision of waxwing and double does provide a closing visual image of YouTube immediacy as their identities approach and implode.

Ian Leader-Elliott, Emeritus Fellow, University of Adelaide, Adjunct Professor, University of South Australia, School of Law
From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] on behalf of Alexey Sklyarenko [skylark1970@MAIL.RU]
Sent: Sunday, 20 September 2015 7:25 PM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Lines 1000-1001 in Pale Fire

On second thought, the lines 1000-1001 of Shade’s poem must be:

I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
By its own double in the window pane.

Dvoynik (“The Double,” 1848) is a short novel by Dostoevski and a poem (1909) by Blok from the cycle Strashnyi mir (“The Terrible World,” 1907-16). In the cycle’s first poem, K Muze (“To the Muse,” 1912), rokovaya o gibeli vest’ (the fatal news about death) and zolotoe ai (the golden Ay) are mentioned. Blok’s poems V restorane (“In the Restaurant,” 1910) and Miry letyat. Goda letyat. Pustaya… (“The worlds fly. The years fly. The empty…” 1912) are also included in Strashnyi mir. In Blok’s poem Ya Gamlet. Kholodeet krov’ (“I am Hamlet. The blood freezes…” 1914) otravlennyi klinok (the poisonous blade) is mentioned.

Shade, Kinbote and Gradus seem to represent three different aspects of V. Botkin, the American scholar of Russian descent whose name hints at Hamlet’s “bare bodkin.” Yakob Gradus (Shade’s murderer) is a namesake of Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin, the main character in Dostoevski’s Dvoynik.

At the beginning of his story Ka (1915) Khlebnikov (the author of a poem about waxwings) says that Ka is ten’ dushi, eyo dvoynik (the soul’s shadow, her double):

А Ка — это тень души, её двойник, посланник при тех людях, что снятся храпящему господину. Ему нет застав во времени; Ка ходит из снов в сны, пересекает время и достигает бронзы (бронзы времён).

Alexey Sklyarenko
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