NABOKV-L post 0012130, Fri, 25 Nov 2005 08:41:00 -0800

Fwd: Query: TT's fictional MS "fictional ontology"
EDNOTE. I seize this interesting exchange to call attention to the
chapter-by-last year of Transparent Things directed by Akiko Nakata for
NABOKV-L. The project is in the NABOKV-L Archive and can be seached by entering

----- Forwarded message from -----
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2005 22:04:55 +0900
From: Akiko Nakata <>
Reply-To: Akiko Nakata <>
Subject: Query: TT's fictional MS

Dear Don and all,

Matt Evans, a new Nabokov fan, sent me a couple of questions about TT. As
one of them might interest some of you (the other apparently not--it is
about the Japanese TT notes published with our Japanese translation), with
his permission, I am forwarding it followed by my answer for the moment.

Best wishes,
Akiko Nakata


My next question has to do with VN's treatment of TT's "fictional
ontology." What I mean by this is, if Mr. R. is the narrator, and Hugh is
dead, how
did the fictional manuscript get into the reader's hands? For instance,
Lolita's "fictional ontology" would have the fictional manuscript originate
HH, and then go to J.R., J.r. with the instruction that it be posthumously
published; the Pale Fire manuscript would originate with John Shade (at
least the poem), enter thereafter into Kinbote's possession, and go from
him to the publisher; the RSLK manuscript is written by V; and I wanted here
to write "et cetera" but I couldn't, since I haven't read the remaining
novels in VN's oeuvre. So my question is, first, do all of VN's fictions
this solid "fictional ontology" pattern in that each novel's fictional
manuscript has, what I for lack of a better term call, a procuring cause
(a chain of events set in motion that culminate in a publishable

If yes, then could the mortal agent of TT's fictional manuscript be Julia
Moore? (Transcribing her dead, pedophile step-father's thoughts? I'm
reaching here.) DN's introduction to the Italian translation of TT hints
that Mr. R. and Julia Moore are characters to be given especial attention.

Matt Evans

Answering your second question: I found it very interesting. It is also
interesting that you have read VN's novels in which "fictional ontology" or
authorship or editorship is really important. In some of the rest like Mary,
KQK, The Defense, Glory, Laughter in the Dark, The Enchanter, the theme does
not seem to exist. In the others such as The Eye, Despair, Invitation to a
Beheading, The Gift, Bend Sinister, Pnin, TT, LATH, we could meet with the
theme of writing in various ways, but strictly speaking, there is no
fictional ontology pattern as in RLSK, Lolita, PF, and Ada. I had not
thought TT as a publishable manuscript. For me, the work feels being
actually narrated rather than written, and "Who is/are narrating here?" is
always crucial (I have solved the riddle only very partially, and I wonder
if we could solve it perfectly). On the other hand, we often find metaphors
related with writing, editing, proofreading, printing and books. In the end,
HP is described to be dying in/into a burning book, and it must be the one
he has been living and editing, and we have been reading. Perhaps there
could be another story I had not imagined of the book.

Akiko Nakata

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