Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0008782, Tue, 21 Oct 2003 09:13:38 -0700

pynchon-l-digest V2 #3615 (fwd) PALE FIRE
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Date: Monday, October 20, 2003 4:44 PM -0500
From: pynchon-l-digest <owner-pynchon-l-digest@waste.org>
To: pynchon-l-digest@waste.org
Subject: pynchon-l-digest V2 #3615

pynchon-l-digest Monday, October 20 2003 Volume 02 : Number 3615

NPPF: Commentary 5 (notes) Lines 433-434
Homer Pynchon
Re: VLVL concluding Chapter 7
RE: NPPF: Commentary 1 (summary and notes) Lines 376-377, 384, 385-386,
Re: VLVL(7) one more thing
Re: e-texts revisited
RE: VLVL Prairie
RE: NPPF: Commentary 3 (notes) Line 408
Re: VLVL "like an amateur tap dancer"
Re: e-texts revisited
Re: e-texts revisited
Re: VLVL Prairie
Re: VLVL(7) one more thing
Offtopic but, HBO's Carnivale: Anybody else watching, enjoying?
Re: VLVL Prairie
Re: slothrop's cousin
Re: VLVL concluding Chapter 7


Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 07:00:41 -0700
From: bekah <bekah0176@sbcglobal.net>
Subject: NPPF: Commentary 5 (notes) Lines 433-434

Commentary notes to Lines 433-434
"To the...sea Which we had visited in thirty-three"

page 204

The Shades had spent some time in Nice, years ago, when Hazel was
conceived. It's near Cap Turc and Villa Paradisa. (renamed for Disa.)

** Disa, Duchess of Payn. Payn is incredible Pain, so Disa is the Duchess
of Pain. She is truly a very unhappy woman. Exiled to the Villa by her
husband. (line130)

Disa is a girl's name which means twice or double in Greek. But in Norse it
means spirited. I'll go with the Greek for Nabakov although she did seem
to be both.

Fwiw, Disa is the name of an orchid: See
http://www.disas.com/con2000-03.htm for more on the origin of the name
Disa from the "DisaPhiles."

** Cap Turc Other than a deviation of "cap-ture," I have no idea. Turc is
usually translated as Turk, Turkey. But Turkey is nowhere near Nice. Can't
figure out a cape there, either. Anyone?

A Villa Paradisa in Cote d'Azur:

(I'm sure it's similar to the hide away of Disa.)

page 205

** Another instance of the "lost in the translation" theme, especially
when the translation is doubled back, mirrored, if you will.

** Curdy Buff - from the index, the nickname of Baron Harfar Shalksbore,
"man of fashion and Zemblan patriot." Perhaps the nickname stems from a
badly pockmarked butt. The term curd is for the curdling of milk as in
cheese or cottage cheese. Also, bean curd is similar to tofu. I guess the
white parts of cauliflower are called curds. None of these would be a
particularly attractive texture for a butt. Reminds me of large pock
cellulite. But read on about beauty in the reversal land of Zembla.

page 206-207
"A beautiful woman should be like a compass rose ivory with four parts of

** "compass rose ivory" is a kind of cat that looks like a rat.
http://hometown.aol.com/obeia/photos.html if you add 4 parts of ebony what
would they be? Hair on head, hair under arms, pubic hair? That sounds about

** "Sybil is idealized, but then, Kinbote has romanticized and idealized
his vision of Zembla as well as his relationship with Shade so he's
obviously going to defend the whole process. Idealization as reflection,
mirror? Reading as mirror?

pg 207-208

** How can Kinbote possibly know these intimate little details, these
thoughts and feelings, about Charles if Charles is another person? Kinbote
either is or has invented Charles or a combination.


page 208

** tiger tea brewed from a blend including tiger penis?

** Disa consults books to find out about the "manly Zemblan customs?" The
customs must be private but not particularly secret if the naive Disa does
not know about them at the age of 25 but can find out from books.


page 210

** Charles betrayed Disa with Phrynia or Timandra? (is this a heterosexual
reference or a scholarly one? Did he spend too much time with his studies
of Shakespeare? Or did he actually bed the ladies?

Origin: Shakespearean
Meaning: 'The Life of Timon of Athens'

In which Nabokov's title, Pale Fire" is found and another example of the
tripartite metaphor: (and with a bit more because I really like it)

...... I'll example you with thievery:
The sun's a thief, and with his great attraction
Robs the vast sea; the moon's an arrant thief,
And her pale fire she snatches from the sun;
The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves
The moon into salt tears; the earth's a thief,
That feeds and breeds by a composture stolen
From general excrement, each thing's a thief;
The laws, your curb and whip, in their rough power
Has uncheck'd theft...


Meanwhile, fwiw, back in Lines 39-40 Kinbote messed it up (translation?
memory? insertion of personal ideas?) See:

Btw, Timandra, although in Timon is from Greek mythology:
Timandra was married to Echemus, son of Aeropus, who succeeded king
Lycurgus of Tegea. They had a son, Augeas, and according to some sources
Timandra eventually left her husband for Phyleus. This is not certain,
though, but makes sense since she was cursed to commit adultery.

** "breakfast for two in the sea cave"

Going on with Timon of Athens; the above lines (Like woodmen,...) are from
Scene III: "Woods and Cave near the Sea.

Diagram of Plato's Sea Cave at:
<http://faculty.knox.edu/fmcandre/platocave.html> Plato's story of emerging
from inside a shadowy cave to clear understanding. (Well, someone had to
say it.) Fwiw, I've always thought coming out of Plato's cave was somewhat
like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. But then, Kinbote has gone into
his cave."


page 212

** "she was inaugurating a fire,"

What does this mean, "inaugurating a fire?"

Great lines though, so misty and dreamlike.

** "houghmagandy"
"Adulterous sexual intercourse. It's a rare word these
days, but as it has a grand sound-and it is of such universal ..."


Would she actually like him to have had some kind of heterosexual adultery?
(But did he with Phrynia or Timandra?)

**trellis telephone line An incredible visual. :)


page 214

** Charles mistakes Fleur for Disa. What you see at a distance may not be
what you get when you see more clearly. An instance of art creating its own
reality? Is love the art the bridge? Is this a translation problem or
something else?

thanks for your patience,

seeing through a glass darkly



Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 11:20:54 -0400
From: "Jasper Fidget" <fakename@verizon.net>
Subject: RE: NPPF: Commentary 1 (summary and notes) Lines 376-377, 384,

> From: owner-pynchon-l@waste.org [mailto:owner-pynchon-l@waste.org] On
> Behalf Of bekah

> Lines 376-377, "was said in English Litt to be"
> Shade's poem uses the spelling, "Lit." Kinbote
> probably used the not uncommon additional "t"
> probably out of carelessness. It's a common
> enough abbreviation.

And another example of K's carelessness wrt Shade's poem. Litt could be
shorthand for Litt. D., an abbreviation of "Litterarum doctor" or Doctor of



Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 11:33:16 -0400
From: "Jasper Fidget" <fakename@verizon.net>
Subject: RE: NPPF: Commentary 3 (notes) Line 408

> From: owner-pynchon-l@waste.org [mailto:owner-pynchon-l@waste.org] On
> Behalf Of bekah

> Except that he changed his name somewhere along the
> line, probably for professional reasons, to Don Odon. Odonata are
> dragonflies or damselflies. But we are getting awfully close to Don Ho too
> who was popular at the time.

Also suggests Don Juan, and another Byron reference for Odon.

> ** Crystal giraffe: Crystal glass plays games with light due to
> refraction or deflection from a straight path. It's not just flat window
> glass but many faceted glass.

See also the "Exposition of Glass Animals" partially destroyed by fire (p.

> ** Trilby (a hat for our man, Gradus)
> http://www.mikethehatter.com/christy.htm

Trilby connects Gradus with Svengali: Trilby is Svengali's hypnotized
love-interest, whom he can coax into telling him she loves him while knowing
he's only talking to himself. Gradus is later described as having "thick
eyebrows" and "mesmeric organs of vision" (p. 277).

http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0022454/ (the classic John Barrymore version)

> Gordon,
> ** the English or Scottish name means "From The Cornered Hill" or
> "Triangular Hill" (or similar) see any "baby names" site, ie:
> <http://www.babynameworld.com/g-boy.asp>

See also Assistant Prof. Misha Gordon of the Music Department (p. 216).
Another example of Kinbote incorporating his "real" world into Zembla? Also
Gordon Krummholz.

Great notes, Bekah, thanks.



End of pynchon-l-digest V2 #3615

D. Barton Johnson