Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004894, Wed, 15 Mar 2000 11:23:59 -0800

Re: A Cryptic l962 Response to McCarthy's Pale Fire Article in
Encounter. Help! (fwd)
Mr. Goldman is playing a game of Word Golf. See "Word Golf" in the Index to
_Pale Fire_.
For further information consult Section Two of Prof. Johnson's _Worlds in
Regression_ and, of course, Prof. Boyd's new book on _Pale Fire_.
Steve Cook

----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald Barton Johnson" <chtodel@humanitas.ucsb.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2000 10:25 PM
Subject: A Cryptic l962 Response to McCarthy's Pale Fire Article in
Encounter. Help! (fwd)

> From: Iann88@aol.com
> Encounter. Help!
> I finally did read Mary McCarthy's article on "Pale Fire" in the October,
> l962 issue of "Encounter" and found it to be a frenzied whirlwind of
> pedantry, so beloved by English Departments in universities -- believe
> I wrote that kind of tripe too when I was in grad school. Dwight MacDonald
> must have gagged on McCarthy's article. And the editors of "Encounter"
> published an equally negative response in its "Letters" section the
> following month. It goes,
> "Playing with 'Pale Fire'"
> As we might expect, at the end of Miss Mary McCarthy's giddy flight waits
> spider Nabokov.
> (Nova) Zembla is also the "region of a malignant deity, called Criticism."
> She is to be found "extended in her den, upon the spoils of numberless
> volumes half-devoured. At her right hand sits Ignorance, her father and
> husband, blind with age; at her left, Pride, her mother, dressing her up
> the scraps of paper herself had torn. There was Opinion, her sister, light
> foot, hoodwinked, and headstrong, yet giddy, and perpetually turning.
> her played her children, Noise and Impudence, Dullness and Vanity,
> Positiveness, Pedantry and Ill-Manners. The goddess herself had claws like
> cat. . . her eyes turned inward, as if she looked only upon herself; her
> was the overflowing of her own gall. . ."
> I omit the less elegant details which are to be found, of course, in "The
> Battle of the Books." People who play with "Pale Fire". . . . .
> McCarthy-Nabokov in five plus three:
> McCARTHY -- harm cyt (se.cit.) (notable tendency)
> (hark-hack-hock-hook-book)
> (cat-can-van)
> book van--NABOKOV (ditto)
> Arnold Goldman
> University of Manchester
> Could someone please explain the last part of the letter? It's beyond
> Phillip Iannarelli, Cleveland, Ohio