Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004798, Tue, 22 Feb 2000 11:58:06 -0800

Re: Pale Fire & homophobia (fwd)
I swore to myself that my last post on this subject would be my final one,
but I must break my vow, since Mr. Shimanovich writes:

What makes hemophilic

[by which I presume he means "homophilic" (a neologism as far as I know, the
"standard usage" being "homophile") rather than "hemophiliac"]

readers of Nabokov insist on
> human failure, however rare, in Nabokov? Can't they just agree to
> disagree? Isn't it a sign of politically correct to press and press and
> press their views on the rest of us, differing in views and values,
> until we are busy enough not to want to answer any more?

This, in fact, seems to be what some list members are doing to me! (Joke.) To
rephrase, once again, my question: if Nabokov had constructed a fiction that
featured a character of African or Jewish extraction doing the things Kinbote
does in relation to Shade (I leave out of this equation sexual orientation),
might we not consider such fiction an example of dubious ethical merit? Once
again, I ask the list to ponder the artistic necessity for Kinbote's
homosexuality. There is certainly something here about a mirror world (this
much is obvious). Is homosexuality a necessary element of that mirror world?
(And, actually, I wonder if the "necessity" of Kinbote's being vegetarian
might illuminate this question, as well).

I suspect that
> Nabokov had in mind very much alive future readers when choosing the
> characters for Lolita, Pale Fire, Ada. I salute his prophecy.

]What prophecy is that? I don't know what to make of this statement, which I
find quite strange.] In any case, I think it would be very much 'on topic' if
we as a list could move on from flaming one another for political correctness
or lack thereof if we could begin examining in detail the artistic purpose of
Kinbote's sexual orientation.

Clearly not my final post on this topic, but a prelude to my next reading of
"Pale Fire."

Christopher Berg