Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015746, Sun, 2 Dec 2007 15:01:28 -0200

Re: THOUGHTS: Wenches,apples,Cain and Abel,Compassion.
RS Gwynn responds to several recent posts:
(1) ***Jansy Mello:... But it’s no accident that we later learn how greatly Shade dislikes...
RSG: This is, as they say, a "fruitful" comment.

Jansy Mello: Who wrote the sentence you quoted was Andrew Brown. I used it to make reference to vegetarian Cain and carnivorous Abel, very direct descendants of the "apple" episode.
(By the way is there not a slang word connecting "fruit" and homosexuality in English?)

(2) ***Carolyn Kunin:... It is clear that something sexual (at least) is very
wrong with Shade.
RSG In what sense, pray tell? He has been married to the same woman for
many years, has good standing in his community ..... Are you saying
that his tolerance of Kinbote means that there is something "wrong" with
him? Whatever happened to compassion?

Jansy Mello: I agree with Matt Roth's arguments [ John Shade is a character in a novel by Nabokov makes a difference in the way we read and interpret his poem...we are encouraged to view the poem as a
window into the life of John Shade--to see both what it reveals and what it...is hiding. I continue to
believe that John Shade is a much more complex and troubled character than most traditional readings of the novel allow]. Perhaps, as C.Kunin maintains, Shade and Kinbote are one and the same in the Jekyll&Hyde fashion and this is why Shade was tolerant with his "alter" - but I don't think such split is necessary to explain human "nature's" contradictory aspects. John Shade might have wanted to hide things in himself he disliked or feared, but as simple readers, we have not this right if we want to study "Pale Fire" and grope with Nabokov's words and constructions. Compassion is something I cannot see in Shade, but I often find tenuous hints of compassion in Kinbote himself.

Carolyn asked: Why "dead wench" Jansy?
JM: The "dead" was inspired in Marlowe's _Jew of Malta_,
IV, 1. [ Friar Barnadine: "Thou hast committed--" //Barabas: "Fornication-- but that was in another country; And besides, the wench is dead."]
A nice "archaism": wench and quench, rake and slake.

I see Matt Roth has interesting developments qua Pale Fire, as so does A.Sklyarenko with "Ada" and the pale fire picture hanging in a ship's cabin. Can't wait to read more about them...

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