Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002645, Thu, 18 Dec 1997 16:25:45 -0800

PF narrator: Blodget speaks (fwd)

Do other readers on this list sometimes reach a point where putative
thematic complexity becomes a barrier actually to enjoying a novel,
or to thinking it much good? I speak not so much of academic readers,
for whom it is sauce, but others who suppose, perhaps naively, that
overelaboration is a defect rather than a virtue. This may well be
Blodget speaking. Peter De Vries somewhere imagines his Id as being
so named. Blodget is impatient of complexity, and I am conscious my
objection may be read that way. But is there not a case for saying
that the present Shade/Kinbote controversy, if in fact it were
actually supported by the text, would be to the detriment of the
novel? N. certainly relishes creating perspectives that open onto
other, unexpected ones. But I am tempted to say that, if there were
actually a possibility that Kinbote is Shade's invention, and not, so
to speak, his own, then _Pale Fire_ would be a book with one twist
too many.

Wayne Daniels

Metro Toronto Reference Library