Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003157, Fri, 29 May 1998 11:22:28 -0700

Re: Query: BIC in Pale Fire? (fwd)
EDITOR's RESPONSE. I didn't know what the BIC referred to but by checking
with Vera Nabokov's translation of PF into Russian, I see she has
footnoted BIC as Behind the Iron Curtain.
From: "T. Ledoux" <tledoux@ix.netcom.com>

Line 469: his gun
Gradus, as he drove back to Geneva, wondered when he
would be able to use it, that gun. The afternoon was un-
bearably hot. The lake had developed a scaling of silver and
a touch of reflected thunderhead. As many old glaziers, he
could deduce rather accurately water temperature from cer-
tain indices of brilliancy and motion, and now judged it to be
at least 23 (degrees). As soon as he got back to his hotel he made a
long-distance call to headquarters. It proved a terrible experi-
ence. Under the assumption that it would attract less atten-
tion than a BIC language, the conspirators conducted tele-
phone conversations in English--broken English, to be ex-
act, with one tense, no articles, and two pronunciations, both
wrong. Furthermore, by their following the crafty system
(invented in the chief BIC country) of using two different
sets of code words--headquarters, for instance, saying
"bureau" for "king," and Gradus saying "letter," they
enormously increased the difficulty of communication. (215)

As mentioned previously, the reference(s) I'm trying to track down
are "BIC language" and "BIC country." Ring any bells...?

Any help at all will be tremendously appreciated.

Sincerely (and thanks again!),

Trish Ledoux