Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015581, Sat, 13 Oct 2007 11:39:38 -0400

THOUGHTS: Catskin / catkin misprint
[EDNOTE. Cursed catkins! Somehow this post didn't get through last week. Apologies to Matt Roth. -- SES]

Since asserting last week that there is a relationship between the catkin
(ament) in Pale Fire and Princess Catskin, I've learned that these very
similar words were twice the source of a misprint in VN's works. In the
Grosset & Dunlap edition of Speak, Memory, page 174, we get "Catskin Week,
with its squeaking and popping din." This was later corrected, but it then
happened again in 1962 Putnam Pale Fire, where on page 151 we find "tubes
hawked during Catskin Week on the boulevards." This error was seemingly
vexing enought to VN that he corrected it in an interview that appears in
SO: "On page 151, 'Catskin Week' should be 'Catkin Week.'" (75) If you would
like to see, in snippet view, these mistakes and the correction, click here:

I imagine this double mistake is all just a coincidence, but it's a kind of
strange one, especially in the context of my own hypothesis. Didn't VN say
somewhere that he placed some errors in his works on purpose? If I ever get
back to the LOC, I'd like to check and see what his handwritten card said.


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