Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0008688, Thu, 2 Oct 2003 08:54:56 -0700

PYnchon List PALE FIRE
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003 10:03:39 -0400
> From: "Jasper Fidget" <fakename@verizon.net>
> Subject: RE: NPPF commentary line 149, p. 143-
> > From: owner-pynchon-l@waste.org [mailto:owner-pynchon-l@waste.org] On
> > Behalf Of Michael Joseph
> [...]
> >
> > The red-capped cairn also alludes back to the text Kinbote is enacting by
> > assiduously avoiding, and once more telescopes Shade and Kinbote. The
> > steinmann Charles recapitulates Shade's "my age of stone" (line 155)--just
> > as Charles' "shiver of alfear" (p. 143) recalls the first part of that
> > line, "an icy shiver down . . .." (line 155) Shade and Kinbote seem to be
> > texturally and viscerally spliced--and perhaps the implication is that the
> > deranged mysoginist, the fake or failed king, is redeemed by such
> > recondite similarities with the authentic poet as may appear in the eye of
> > a playful reader.
> >
> >
> > Michael
> >
> >
> Great stuff, thanks.
> Steinmann -- Stone-man is the intersection of a word motif and progression.
> We also have:
> "Rodstein" on p. 88: "the sectile mosaic of the court -- realistic rose
> petals cut out of rodstein and large almost palpable thorns cut out of green
> marble." (This is the scene with the minister who resembles St. Augustine
> and Charles' sexual reaction to watching him.) "Stone rod" -- "rod" a
> symbol of office, a magician's wand, and yes, it's also slang for penis. Oh
> rose, thou art sick!
> "Bechstein" on p. 129: "The King sat down at the Bechstein" (a piano). This
> is in the music room of the palace.
> "Eystein" on p. 130: "the huge oils of Eystein had fascinated several
> generations of Zemblan princes and princesses." (Linked to an Archbishop
> renowned for building things with stone.) This is in the gallery of the
> palace.
> "Julius Steinmann" (also) becomes the cairn personified on p. 153: "An
> especially brilliant impersonator of the King, the tennis ace Julius
> Steinmann (son of the well-known philanthropist), had eluded for several
> months the police who had been driven to the limits of exasperation by his
> mimicking to perfection the voice of Charles the Beloved in a series of
> underground radio speeches deriding the government."
> "Buchmann" on p. 161: "In front of their garage, on the ground, I noticed a
> /buchmann/, a little pillar of library books which Sybil had obviously
> forgotten there." Obviously: book-man.
> All this comes together in the Note to 1000 where Gradus has "decided to
> play a new role" and ignores Kinbote as if he were "a stone king on a stone
> charger in the Tessera Square of Onhava" (295). I'll leave the notion of a
> "tesseract square" for later or never, but a stone king would be a
> "Steinkonig" (and a stone horse a "Steinpferd") connecting steinmann to
> Erlkonig. It is certainly no accident that the /steinmann/ on p. 143 is
> adjacent to /alfear/. The Erlkonig is the Alder King, so -> alderman, "A
> man of noble or high rank" (OED), and also: tree-man.
> Therefore: tree-man, stone-man, book-man. A progression of man through time
> defined by the tools he uses. Or wood-man, cave-man, library-man; a
> progression of man defined by his dwellings. Also add: church-man,
> conservatory-man, gallery-man.
> I like where Michael is going with this "depersonification" idea. Where the
> steinmann is personified on p. 153, Kinbote depersonifies himself on p. 295;
> he turns to stone, becomes the steinmann, the stone-man. He is left behind
> in history. The world no longer needs kings. (The book no longer needs
> Kinbote?)
> Rodstein, if transformed the same way as the alder, becomes rodmann: a
> "rodman," according to the OED, is both "an angler" (see p. 116) and "a
> gunman" (see Note to 1000 and elsewhere).
> Jasper Fidget
> ------------------------------