Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0005004, Tue, 11 Apr 2000 08:29:28 -0700

Response to Comments on Boyd (fwd)
Dear Joe:

The beauty of Boyd's book on *Pale Fire* is that it offers
the most elegant solution to date to the controversial internal
authorship problem. Its spirit fits remarkably well with
other works of Nabokov, such as "The Vane Sisters," "Ultima
Thule," and *Transparent Things," where the otherworldly
influence is either explicit or has been pointed out by Nabokov
himself (precisely because readers have failed to notice
its presence).
The other thing that I appreciate about Boyd's book is the
fact that he offers multiple ways of arriving at the same solution;
one of his main arguments is that after multiple readings
one begins to notice that different roads lead to the same
destination. A reader may miss a large number of them,
but if s/he finds one, that is enough to experience revelation.
(Although, of course, finding these paths requires
multiple re-readings and a tremendous memory, and VN required
both of his readers.)
Even if I don't see or agree with every single association that
Boyd makes, I find his thesis not only elegant but convincing.
And by the way, I can't remember anything in the book that contradicts
VN's statements in *Strong Opinions* or anywhere else; in fact, it
supports many of them. The most obvious that comes to mind is VN's
assertion that "reality" is multiply-layered: a lily is beautiful
to a passerby, but it is so much more beautiful and complex to
the botanist, and even more so to the botanist who specializes in lilies.

Dana Dragunoiu