Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026535, Thu, 15 Oct 2015 18:52:35 +0000

Re: Philomela and Pale Fire?
Carolyn & Jansy brought up my old Ovidian speculations, which I haven't the will to defend at this point. But I can say that I have not abandoned my interest in Ovid's tales and their relationship to Shade & Hazel. My essay "A Small, Mad Hope: Pale Fire, Hazel Shade, and the Oedipal Disaster" is forthcoming. I don't mention the Tereus tale in the essay, but another of Ovid's tales gets plenty of play. Stay tuned.



CK: If there is any evidence that Shade's relationship with his daughter was unnatural, I have missed it. I have missed how Hazel is either a nightingale (they don't exist on the American continent after all) or a pheasant. Shade is not a waxwing, but the shadow of one, which is only his poetic way of saying that he was watching when a waxwing flew into his window; he could see the bird, whose shadow presumably fell on the poet, but the bird only saw the reflected sky. Sybil is an Irondell, so I suppose she could be said to be a swallow. Sylvia too has avian traits - she is said to perch in between peregrinations. Shade imagining himself a king is too generic an idea to point to the Ovid story ... so Matt is going to have to defend this idea - I just don't get it.

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