Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0008884, Sun, 9 Nov 2003 12:46:50 -0800

Pynchon list-----Pale Fire
Date: Sun, 09 Nov 2003 14:24:34 +1100
From: jbor <jbor@bigpond.com>
Subject: NPPF backbones

In Kinbote's note to line 697 Gradus is described as having a "tremor of
excitement running like fever down his crooked spine."

Cf. the note to line 596 where Kinbote describes his own "long and supple

There are numerous references to Kinbote's height, the King's stature &c
hereabouts in the notes.

Is the note to line 691 about "the disguised king's arrival in America" the
first time in the Commentary where Kinbote openly acknowledges and refers to
Charles the Beloved in the first person?

Oscar Nattochdag, the "distinguished Zemblan scholar" (n. 627) whom Kinbote
"sees every day in his office" (n. 579), seems another likely candidate, or
red herring, beside V. Botkin, for Kinbote's "true" identity.




Date: Sun, 09 Nov 2003 13:35:02 +1100
From: jbor <jbor@bigpond.com>
Subject: Re: NPPF some notes pp 224-235 (2)

on 4/11/03 1:29 AM, Jasper Fidget wrote:

> p. 235
> "Now it is quieter" etc
> Kinbote is completely alone now as his work nears completion.
> p. 235
> "two tongues"
> Aside from Zemblan, English/American is the only non-Slavic language.
> "American and European" would be VN himself.

Or (Nabokov as) Kinbote, another bilingual, another European in America. The
whole stanza in Shade's poem (lines 609-616) pre-empts Kinbote's situation
in the motel room in Cedarn even without the variant draft Kinbote
reproduces in the note. Kinbote deliberately draws the reader's attention to
this stanza. It's as if his own suicide (if, in fact, he does actually
commit suicide rather than merely contemplate it) is prophesied in the poem.
Or, perhaps, it is the poem that drives him to suicide. Or it's all
self-conscious, a charade. Or ...