Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015579, Fri, 12 Oct 2007 09:32:12 -0700

melodramatic apology & justification from Carolyn Kunin
To Mssrs ) Gwynn, Roth and Boyd,

I am so sorry I brought it up. Since I am not willing to spend any
more time in defending my idea, I really shouldn't have entered the
fray. My apologies.

But, just for the record, the hidden melodrama, if there is one, was
invented by Robert Louis Stevenson. It was a melodrama which we know
to have fascinated Nabokov and therefore should not be dismissed as a
possible source of the design of the novel. Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
deserves to be taken as seriously by Nabokov's readers as it was by
the author. I may be the only one, but I do find it interesting that
in Pale Fire Shade and Kinbote are always spoken of "Mr Shade" and
"Dr Kinbote".

Carolyn Kunin

On Oct 11, 2007, at 3:37 AM, b.boyd@AUCKLAND.AC.NZ wrote:

> Actually what Kinbote writes is that “At her [Maud’s] death, Hazel
> (born 1934) was not exactly a ‘babe’ as implied in line 90.” True,
> at Maud’s death Hazel is not a babe, but the point of “She lived to
> hear the next babe cry” is only that Maud is still alive, and still
> in the house where she was already living when her nephew John was
> born, when Hazel is born. By the standards of Shade’s parents, who
> died more than 30 years before this next generation, Maud’s lasting
> this long is quite an achievement.
> Shade mentions his parents’ deaths (“I was an infant when
> my parents died”) then 19 lines later notes that, unlike them, Maud
> “lived to hear the next babe cry.” That she lived another 16 years
> is not the point; the point is simply the contrast with his
> parents. When they died, John Shade was still a crying infant. Maud
> lived to hear the NEXT generation cry.
> Nabokov’s and Shade’s text is clear, and there is no need
> to invent a hidden melodrama that would destroy the design of the
> novel.
> Brian Boyd
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum on behalf of Matthew Roth
> Sent: Wed 10/10/2007 5:00 AM
> Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] reply to one of Matt Roth's query & a
> counter-query
> MR responding to CK's comments:
> CK: I don't quite understand your interpretation here - - who are you
> saying Kinbote thinks is "one and the same" as whom?
> MR: I was trying to say that the wife in ballerina black is, as
> Kinbote
> suggests, based on the girl in the black leotard who "haunts Lit.
> 202."
> CK: Shade tells us that "Aunt Maud lived to hear the next babe cry."
> Kinbote correctly points out that this can hardly refer to Hazel
> but by
> implication this "next babe," born in her later years, must be a blood
> relative of Maud's. The only people capable of engendering a child
> who would
> be related to the elderly Maud are Shade and Hazel. Since there is no
> apparent (sorry) child who fits this description in Shade's poem,
> he or she
> seemingly no longer exists or has moved out of Shade's orbit and
> certainly
> has not been recognized as a legitimate child or, in the unlikely
> event that
> Hazel is the parent, grandchild.
> MR: I agree with all of this, except I don't dismiss Hazel as the
> possible
> mother-in-question. Also, I take the statement about Aunt Maud
> ("lived to
> hear") to mean that Aunt Maud's reason for living was to see a
> great-nephew
> (essentially a grandchild) born. Unfortunately, I don't think she
> quite made
> it.
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