NABOKV-L post 0012219, Thu, 15 Dec 2005 16:22:12 -0800

Fwd: Re: Boyd re the Pale Fire poem
Donald B. Johnson writes:


> Just after completing the poem in February 1961, Nabokov drafted a
> letter to the New Yorker, asking if they would be prepared to publish
> the whole of the "Pale Fire" poem in a single issue. It would have
> been a strange move to ask them to publish a poem by an invented poet
> that he thought was artistically flawed--and indeed as we know he
> would later call Shade "by far the greatest of invented poets" (SO
> 59). Since he had taken the trouble to compose fine poems for his
> invented Vasily Shishkov--which would be hailed as masterpieces by his
> critical foe Georgy Adamovich--this is no mean claim.

A minor point, but as far as I know, it was somewhat other way around:
Nabokov published his poem "Poets" (on death of Khodasevich) under the
pen-name "Vasily Shishkov" to check reaction of Adamovich. After the
latter praised the poem, VN continued the mystification by writing a
short story about his (VN) meeting with Shishkov (himself again), in
which Shishkov subjects the narrator to the check subtly symmetrical to
one Nabokov applied to Adamovich: instead of presenting his true verses
under a fake name, Shishkov presents fake verses under his true name.


> Brian Boyd

Nikita Danilov

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