Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0005273, Mon, 3 Jul 2000 14:51:18 -0700

Nabokov and Pope (fwd)
From: Arthur Glass <goliard@worldnet.att.net>

So Zembla's Rocks (the beauteous Work of Frost)
Rise white in Air, and glitter o'er the Coast
Pale suns [sic!], unfelt , at distance roll away,
And on th'impassive Ice the Lightnings play.

----- Original Message -----
From: Galya Diment <galya@u.washington.edu>
Sent: Monday, July 03, 2000 5:16 PM
Subject: Re: Nabokov and Pope (fwd)

> From: ken tapscott <kentapscott@hotmail.com>
> Re Nabokov and Pope: there is a short poem of Pope's which purports to be
> "translation" of a poem of Chaucer's, called "The Temple of Fame" or
> something similar to that (like Professor Kinbote and his favorite version
> of _Timon of Athens_, I don't have the book here with me at the moment) -
> the poem is about 30 lines long, a fragment I believe, and it describes a
> frozen palace in the very north of the world, in a place called Zembla or
> Nova Zembla, or perhaps Pope (or Chaucer) indicates that the Temple is
> farther north than Zembla (again, I'm not certain about this). As I
> Boyd's biography, I don't recall that he notes this poem of Pope's as a
> source or allusion for Nabokov, nor do I remember having seen it referred
> elsewhere in connection with Nabokov and _Pale Fire_. The poem is, or used
> to be, in the paperback, edition of the Twickenham Pope, which I used in a
> college class. Its connection to _Pale Fire_ seems particularly relevant
> because it describes in detail the way that light glints from the icy
> surfaces of the palace of Fame, just as the renown of literary work
> back on its authors (it's difficult to imagine Pope taking care to
> the renown of Chaucer, as far as I'm concerned). Nabokov's Zembla,
> similarly, is a kingdom of glass, glassworks, mirrors, and reflected
> I have never bothered to try locating the original of the poem in
> works. Beyond that, I don't recall that Pope's short poem had any
> eye-opening revelations for the reader in search of solutions to Nabokov's
> puzzling _Pale Fire_, but Nabokov must have been aware of Pope's short
> piece.
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