Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0005231, Wed, 28 Jun 2000 11:57:42 -0700

Boyd (fwd)
From: Jake Pultorak <jacob.pultorak@oracle.com>

I find it very interesting that all of the negative criticism on Boyd's
brilliant hypothesis seems to consistently take the form of gentle
mockery, rather than citings of specific disagreement with or
counterevidence against the theory.

This type of behavior is quite a typical response to any new theory that
completely departs from the generally accepted paradigm, but that is
simultaneously supported by undeniable evidence. The case of Alfred
Wegener, the originator of the Continental Drift theory, comes to mind.
His theory was severely attacked and his scholarship soundly ridiculed
by prominent geologists of the time, despite the theory's agreement with
current scientific observations. The theory never achieved acceptance
during his lifetime (in fact he froze to death in 1930 during an
expedition to Greenland to collect evidence), and he took his
frustrations with the scientific community to his grave. Within a few
decades, his theory of course has come to be accepted as fact, and is
today one of the main tenets of geology, and part of the mainstream of
generally accepted scientific knowledge. The very fact his theory was
so undeniably accurate, and to be honest in retrospect so utterly
obvious, was precisely what caused his peers in the scientific community
to reject the theory and openly mock it.

Of course this comparison will come as no surprise to Boyd, who directly
alludes to Popper's discourse on how scientific hypotheses are received
by the community over the course of time within the very book that
proposes his own hypothesis on _Pale Fire_. I for one am quite thankful
to Boyd for his elegant explanation of the authorship question, and
further grateful that he presents and supports his hypothesis with
irrefutable and convincing evidence, including of course specific
details from within Nabokov's worlds and works. At least we won't have
to worry about Boyd freezing to death in the wastes of Greenland
searching for evidence-- he has placed it all in front of us for our
perusal and refutation, and as yet we have seen precious little
refutation. One hopes that it will not take so many decades before
readership at large recognizes the inherent truth behind the otherworldy
authorial connection, and where it fits in the larger scheme of
Nabokov's oevre.

Jacob E. Pultorak
Practice Manager
Oracle Consulting
Communications and Utilities
(617) 510-2361