NABOKV-L post 0026645, Sat, 21 Nov 2015 01:14:35 +0000

Re: July, October, February & March in Pale Fire
This is with regard to Alexey Sklyarenko's many posts about Pale Fire.   Frequently the posts (comprised of anagrams and references to Pushkin and other Russian poets) end with a seemingly unrelated assertion by Sklyarenko such as the following:
It seems that to be completed Shade’s unfinished poem needs two lines: I was the shadow of the waxwing slainBy its own double in the windowpane.
No matter which of the many interpretations of Pale Fire one may prefer, it is difficult to accept the necessity of the proposed second line of the couplet ( . . . by its own double in the windowpane).  For one thing, it is more blunt and obvious than anything Nabokov would have written.  Has Mr. Sklyarenko offered an argument that I have missed as to why this must be the final line of the poem?
Barry Warren

From: Alexey Sklyarenko <skylark1970@MAIL.RU>
Sent: Friday, November 20, 2015 4:11 AM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] July, October, February & March in Pale Fire

<!--#yiv8925692995 _filtered #yiv8925692995 {font-family:"Cambria Math";panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;} _filtered #yiv8925692995 {font-family:Calibri;panose-1:2 15 5 2 2 2 4 3 2 4;}#yiv8925692995 #yiv8925692995 p.yiv8925692995MsoNormal, #yiv8925692995 li.yiv8925692995MsoNormal, #yiv8925692995 div.yiv8925692995MsoNormal {margin:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri", "sans-serif";}#yiv8925692995 a:link, #yiv8925692995 span.yiv8925692995MsoHyperlink {color:blue;text-decoration:underline;}#yiv8925692995 a:visited, #yiv8925692995 span.yiv8925692995MsoHyperlinkFollowed {color:purple;text-decoration:underline;}#yiv8925692995 span.yiv8925692995EmailStyle17 {font-family:"Calibri", "sans-serif";color:windowtext;}#yiv8925692995 .yiv8925692995MsoChpDefault {font-size:10.0pt;} _filtered #yiv8925692995 {margin:2.0cm 42.5pt 2.0cm 3.0cm;}#yiv8925692995 div.yiv8925692995WordSection1 {}-->According to Kinbote, Shade (who was born on July 5, 1898, and died on July 21, 1959) wrote his last poem in July:  We possess in result a complete calendar of his work. Canto One was begun in the small hours of July 2 and completed on July 4. He started the next canto on his birthday and finished it on July 11. Another week was devoted to Canto Three. Canto Four was begun on July 19, and as already noted, the last third of its text (lines 949-999) is supplied by a Corrected Draft. This is extremely rough in appearance, teeming with devastating erasures and cataclysmic insertions, and does not follow the lines of the card as rigidly as the Fair Copy does. Actually, it turns out to be beautifully accurate when you once make the plunge and compel yourself to open your eyes in the limpid depths under its confused surface. It contains not one gappy line, not one doubtful reading. This fact would be sufficient to show that the imputations made (on July 24, 1959) in a newspaper interview with one of our professed Shadeans--who affirmed without having seen the manuscript of the poem that it "consists of disjointed drafts none of which yields a definite text"--is a malicious invention on the part of those who would wish not so much to deplore the state in which a great poet's work was interrupted by death as to asperse the competence, and perhaps honesty, of its present editor and commentator. (Foreword)  In his note to Line 12 of Shade’s poem Kinbote calls Shade’s wife Sybil “a domestic anti-Karlist” (the supporters of Charles the Beloved, the last king of Zembla, are known as Karlists). In a letter of 25 Feb. – 8 Mar., 1837, to Count Benckendorff Zhukovski says that Pushkin was an enemy of the July Revolution and a Karlist (advocate of Charles X, king of France in 1824-30):  Пушкин был враг Июльской революции. По убеждению своему он был карлист…  Nabokov was an enemy of the October Revolution. The date under Kinbote’s Foreword to Shade’s poem is Oct. 19, 1959 (the anniversary of Pushkin’s Lyceum). According to Kinbote, Charles the Beloved arrived in America a year earlier:  John Shade's heart attack (Oct. 17, 1958) practically coincided with the disguised king's arrival in America where he descended by parachute from a chartered plane piloted by Colonel Montacute, in a field of hay-feverish, rank-flowering weeds, near Baltimore whose oriole is not an oriole. It had all been perfectly timed, and he was still wrestling with the unfamiliar French contraptions when the Rolls-Royce from Sylvia O'Donnell's manor turned toward his green silks from a road and approached along the mowntrop, its fat wheels bouncing disapprovingly and its black shining body slowly gliding along. (note to Line 691)  Kinbote moves into Judge Goldsworth’s house on Feb. 5, 1959:  Never shall I forget how elated I was upon learning, as mentioned in a note my read shall find, that the suburban house (rented for my use from Judge Goldsworth who had gone on his Sabbatical to England) into which I moved on February 5, 1959, stood next to that of the celebrated American poet whose verses I had tried to put into Zemblan two decades earlier! (Foreword)  In Istoriya posledney dueli Pushkina (“The Story of Pushkin’s Last Duel,” 1916) P. E. Shchyogolev points out that d’Anthès was born on Feb. 5, 1812, and mentions the king Charles X who promised to Duchess de Berry the only page vacancy:  Жоржъ-Шарль Дантесъ родился 5 февраля 1812 г. нов. ст. Онъ былъ третьимъ ребёнкомъ въ семьѣ и первымъ сыномъ. Учился онъ первоначально въ коллежѣ въ Альзасѣ, потомъ въ Бурбонскомъ Лицеѣ. Отецъ хотѣлъ отдать его въ пажи, но въ ноябрѣ 1828 года не оказалось свободной вакансіи: была одна, и ту Карлъ X обѣщалъ горцогинѣ Беррійской.  VN’s father was a leading member of the Constitutional Democratic Party that came to power in 1917 after the February Revolution. VDN was assassinated on March 28, 1922, in Berlin. Shade’s daughter Hazel committed suicide on a wild March night in 1957. Hazel Shade’s “real” name seems to be Nadezhda Botkin. On July 17, 1918, Dr Evgeniy Botkin was executed in Ekaterinburg with the family of the last Russian tsar.  Re strizhi: in the opening paragraph of Strizham (“To the Swifts,” The Contemporary, July 1864), an article by Antonovich alluded to in “The Gift” (Chapter Three), there is a sentence:  Теперь ни одному из вас нельзя посмотреться в зеркало, чтоб не сказать себе: "в этом зеркале я вижу стрижа".Now none of you can look in a mirror without saying to himself: “in this mirror I see a swift.”  The target of the critic’s satire is Dostoevski (“a whipped and expiring animal,” as in another article in the same issue of The Contemporary Antonovich calls the author of “The Double”).  It seems that to be completed Shade’s unfinished poem needs two lines:  I was the shadow of the waxwing slainBy its own double in the windowpane.  Alexey Sklyarenko
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