Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015696, Fri, 23 Nov 2007 12:02:30 EST

Re: Brian Boyd on Apples in PF
In a message dated 11/23/2007 10:02:01 AM Central Standard Time,
b.boyd@AUCKLAND.AC.NZ writes:
> And from the inside, too, I’d duplicate
> Myself, my lamp, an apple on a plate.
> I would like to propose another reason for the “apple on a plate,” which
> incidentally I do not see (pace R.S. Gwynn) as referring to Shade’s childhood
> any more than I think the rest of the first verse paragraph does. Kinbote in
> his Note may wish to “visualize John Shade in his early boyhood, a physically
> unattractive but otherwise beautifully developed lad,” but there is no reason
> I can see in Shade’s poem to assume the first twelve lines refer to his
> childhood. Indeed the quality of the imagination Shade attributes to himself here
> seems to me too sophisticated for the much more normally boyish, albeit
> bookish, young Shade depicted in the second half of Canto One.
I'm just judging by the verb tenses. He is consistently using past and past
perfect in 1-12. He shifts to present ("Retake . . .") in 13-28. 29-48 use
past and past perfect plus the past conditional, "could," and mentions his
going to school, but 44 shifts into present and present perfect. 49-53 use past;
54 clearly shifts to present and present perfect. When Shade restates the
opening line in 131, he's clearly referring to himself as a boy ("a cloutish

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