NABOKV-L post 0007195, Sun, 1 Dec 2002 16:13:41 -0800

Subject
Fw: nun jetzt in Pale Fire nuns
Date
Body
nun jetzt in Pale Fire
----- Original Message -----
From: Andrew Brown
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2002 3:06 PM
Subject: Re: nun jetzt in Pale Fire


I take it this means you don't think they are the same person, that Nabokov is type-casting, so to speak. It's just a coincidence that he uses "a nun" in one place and "the nun" later?

No, no. Not coincidence. It's crucial to keep in mind that this is SHADE, talking, casually and characteristically for his time, his place, his age, his background. If any typecasting being done it is by Shade, not Nabokov. To Shade the nun disguise is an absurdity, but the story has been told to him by Kinbote. He makes this clear, even pointing to K as he says it.

Shade uses the nun "roommate" because to him (and to me, in my time, place, background, Shade is being unfair and prejudiced) because a nun-to-be is, he believes, a similar type to Hazel -- an unpopular undesirable. Someone who isn't going to be getting any dates. Someone who will never share a lovers cigarette.

Do you also think the blonde, barefoot and in a black leotard, is a type, or is she a person?

I think she's a person. She appears twice. First as someone referred to between the guys in the common room: "that stunning blonde in the leotard who haunts Lit 202." Second, I think she's the female student Kinbote/Botkin invites to dinner to make a foursome between Shade, Sybil, and Botkin. The Shades leave early because they don't want to be there in the first place, and because Shade hates the vegetarian fare, and because both Shade and Sybil think Kinbote is nuts, and they've got nothing in common with the woman student. Kinbote/Botkin doesn't like her either and he's bored with her until she leaves.

But you do think that Netochka (Nezvanova?) is a person. How do you see old Natochdag - does he bear any resemblance to an old lady of that family in a 1934 bestseller? Or you have something else in mind?

I think Natochdag (sp?) is the alarmed dept. head in charge of Kinbote/Botkin and Netochka is the nickname Botkin gives him. I'm not familar with a Nezvanova nor a 1934 bestseller, but I don't think Nabokov based major characterizations on recent contemporary literature. He references primarily classics or old, obscure references ... one of which is Thomas Flatman, an English poet 1637-1688, who wrote a poem called A Thought of Death which you may want to read. The Flatman reference is made by Kinbote speaking with Shade and the guys in the commentary note where one of the guys is trying to pronounce Professor Pnin's name. Make sure to give me credit for what you find there.


----- Original Message -----
From: D. Barton Johnson
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
Sent: Saturday, November 30, 2002 7:12 PM
Subject: Fw: nun jetzt in Pale Fire



----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Saturday, November 30, 2002 3:55 PM
Subject: nun jetzt in Pale Fire


A challenge to those who believe that the roommate is Hazel's:


Do you see any significance in the nun who turns up in Kinbote's commentary to line 894 ("the widely circulated stuff about the nun") or any relationship between this nun and the roommate who has become one?


To which Mr Brown replied:

I think that Nabokov's intention in both the reference to a future nun "roommate" (whose I don't know, but you know my thoughts on this word choice) sitting with Hazel, and the second reference, in the commentary, to a fake nun, are both separate statements of about a certain tupe of marginal person -- non-sexual persons.




Dear Mr Brown,

I take it this means you don't think they are the same person, that Nabokov is type-casting, so to speak. It's just a coincidence that he uses "a nun" in one place and "the nun" later? That would be rather uncharacteristic of Nabokov.

Do you also think the blonde, barefoot and in a black leotard, is a type, or is she a person?

But you do think that Netochka (Nezvanova?) is a person. How do you see old Natochdag - does he bear any resemblance to an old lady of that family in a 1934 bestseller? Or you have something else in mind?

Carolyn Kunin