Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004821, Sun, 27 Feb 2000 16:21:51 -0800

Re: Pale Fire & homophobia (fwd)

> Alas, nothing better than "Othello" comes to mind when I think of a
> piece of fiction where the only black-skinned character is also the
> murderer.

Once again, the my point is missed. (I cannot even bear to respond to George
Shimanovich's posting.) "Othello" is a far more nuanced character
than Kinbote, with many characteristics of great nobility. He is duped by a
monster, a monster so clever that Othello's intelligence is certainly not in
question either. He is a poet. Kinbote is another matter altogether: a
philistine of the worst kind whose only redeeming feature is the (not
altogether kind) amusement which comes from our watching the workings of his
madness. In Nabokov's formula of art as "beauty + pity" isn't pity a bit
lacking in PF?

In any case, the better Shakespearean parallel is surely the much more
problematic "Merchant of Venice."

I do hope people will stop this thread soon: it seems we are all approaching
it from an emotional standpoint, rather than trying to puzzle out the reasons
for this particular artistic choice of VN's. In fact, I am beginning to find
the whole thing extremely embarrassing, as it seems to be bringing out the
worst in many list members.

Christopher Berg