NABOKV-L post 0008995, Mon, 8 Dec 2003 10:34:12 -0800

Subject
Fw: Fw: Fw:Still More PF & Zenda
Date
Body
----- Original Message -----
From: "Charles Nicol" <ejnicol@isugw.indstate.edu>
>
> ---------------- Message requiring your approval (103
lines) ------------------
> Curiously enough, Don placed Mary's and my Zenda comments together, and
> in hers Mary mentioned that somebody--she couldn't remember who--had
> suggested that the last book on Mrs. Goldsworth's reading list, "Amber
> to Zen," referred to Zembla; Mary also noted that Brian had suggested a
> Salinger reference in "Zen." I had already forgotten that I was that
> somebody, and that my suggestion was in my review of Brian's Pale Fire
> book in NABOKOV STUDIES. After the review, Brian amiably suggested to
> me that "Zen" might be a portmanteau allusion to both Hope and Salinger.
>
> And thanks to another of our correspondents for remembering Rupert
> of Hentzau.
>
> Chaz
>
> >>> chtodel@cox.net 12/6/2003 11:49:45 AM >>>
> EDNOTE. Two of the most revered names in Nabokov studies kick in on
> the
> "Prisoner of Zembla" theme. Chaz Nicol is a founding father of the
> Vladimir
> Nabokov Society and Mary Bellino is assistant editor of the Society's
> journal NABOKOV STUDIES.
> By chance the Turner Classic Movies TV channel (69 in California is
> runnng
> the 1937 film of "Prisoner of Zenda"at 8pm this evening.
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Charles Nicol" <ejnicol@isugw.indstate.edu>
> To: <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> >
> > ----------------- Message requiring your approval (51
> lines) ------------------
> > Some additional Zenda comments:
> >
> > 1. By mentioning only Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger, you
> neglected
> > a great, dashing performance by VN's pal James Mason as the charming
> > villain whazhisname.
> > 2. Aside from Mason, the earlier film was by far the better, even
> > though the later seems to have been shot as an absolutely slavish
> > remake, with almost every shot and every scrap of dialogue
> identical.
> > 3. The book by Anthony Hope is still delightful, in my opinion, and
> I
> > read it every decade or so; the follow-up, where the James Mason
> > character gets his own sequel, isn't bad either.
> > 4. The Prisoner of Zenda is typical of a whole genre of novels set
> in
> > imaginary kingdoms in middle Europe written at the beginning of the
> 20th
> > century; the granddaddy of them all is Graustark, but Zenda was
> popular
> > enough that sometimes the whole genre is referred to as Ruritanian.
> > 5. I have always thought that Queen Blenda of Zembla was a nod in
> > passing to Zenda.
> >
> > Chaz
> > Charles Nicol
> ----------------------------------------------
> ----------------------------------------------------
> FROM MARY BELLINO:
>
> lines) ------------------
> It's also been suggested (though I can't remember whose idea
> it was originally) that the philistine Mrs. Goldsworth may
> have owned a copy of The Prisoner of Zenda. Kinbote, looking
> over her shelves, says "her intellectual tastes were fully
> developed, going as they did from Amber to Zen" (p. 83 of
> the Vintage). Now "Amber" almost certainly refers to
> Kathleen Winsor's trashy novel Forever Amber (a sort of Gone
> with the Wind set in Restoration England, considered very
> racy at the time of its publication in the mid 1940s; it
> sold millions of copies). So "Zen" might refer to the
> Prisoner of Z, a novel whose swashbuckling plot and
> easy-to-read text might have appealed to Mrs. G--and it
> falls into the same kitschy, midcult genre that Nabokov
> satirized time and again.
>
> Thus those who subscribe to the theory that Kinbote
> fashioned Zembla out of bits and pieces of his New
> Wye/Wordsmith life might argue that he read (or recalled)
> the book as his sanity slowly unravelled chez Goldsmith and
> he reknit it into the rich tapestry of Zembla (pardon the
> mixed metaphor--I guess it should be "reknit it into the
> rich mittens of Zembla").
>
> Also of interest is Victor's dream in Pnin--a sort of
> foreshadowing of the Zembla plot--among the sources of which
> are The Scarlet Pimpernel, another swashbuckler (see
> Barabtarlo, Phantom of Fact, ad loc).
>
> And on all of this see Boyd's Nabokov's PF: The Magic of
> Artistic Discovery 96-98 (esp 98; he links "Zen" to JD
> Salinger) and the online version of his original Nabokov
> Studies article "Shade and Shape in Pale Fire" (online p. 2
> at http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/boydpf2.htm: the
> para that begins "When he outrageously imposes on Shade's
> helpless poem the Zembla story...." specifically mentions Zenda).
>
> Mary
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
--
> -------------
>
>