NABOKV-L post 0002650, Fri, 19 Dec 1997 10:17:19 -0800

Subject
Re: PF narrator? (fwd)
Date
Body
>EDITOR's NOTE. Sergey Il'yn <isb@glas.apc.org>, is the Moscow translator
>of VN's English novels. He is a frequent contributor to NABOKV-L. I have
supplied a quick and dirty translation.
>-------------------------------------------------
SI: >Some remarks about "real author" of PF:
>
>1. Kto vybral epigraph - i osobenno "Hodge shall not be shot"? Kinbote,
>naskol'ko ya ego ponimayu, sravnivat' sebya s kakim-to kotom ne mozhet, k
>tomu zhe on uveren, chto ego rano ili pozdno zastrelit "more competent
>Gradus". Shade? Kak eoigraph k poeme aeto ne imeet nikakogo smysla. I esli
>NE Shade napisal "Commentary", togda otkuda vzyalos' "shall not be shot"?
>Mne kazhetsya, chto rasskaz o smerti Shade'a,im zhe i vydumannoy, aeto
>skoree, mechta o legkom (ibo mgnovennom) kontze, kotoroy vse my ne chuzhdy.
>-----------------------------------
>1. Who selected the epigraph -- and especially "Hodge shall not be shot"?
>Kinbote, as far as I understand him, cannot compare himself with a some
>sort of cat. Besides, he is sure that sooner or later a "more competent
>Gradus" will shoot him. Shade? As an epigraph to the poem, it makes no
>sense. And if Shade didn't write the "Commentary," what does one make
of the "shall not be shot"? It seems to me that the story of Shade's death,
>invented by himself, is, rather, a dream about an easy (or, rather,
>quick) demise -- a dream shared by all.
>--------------------------------------------
DBJ: THE EPIGRAPH ARGUMENT DOES SEEM TO BE IN FAVOR OF "SHADE AS AUTHOR OF
COMMENTARY." I WONDER IF THERE MIGHT NOT BE ANOTHER INTERPRETATION
SOMEHOW? I DON'T HAVE ONE TO OFFER OFFHAND. I RECALL LOOKING UP THE
CONTEXT OF JOHNSON'S REMARK TO BOSWELL WITHOUT SEEING ANYTHING OBVIOUS.
COULD IT BE AN ANAGRAM? NOTE THAT "SHADE" LURKS IN THE PHRASE.
----------------------------------------------
>2. Po povodu neznaniya Shade'om russkogo yazyka (Vash argument).
-------------------------
2. Re your (DBJ's) argument about Shade's ignorance of Russian.
----------------------------------------
>a) Nigde v PF ne skazano, chto Shade ne znaet "pa-russki", i stalo byt',
>teoreticheski my mozhem iskhodit' iz "prezuptzii znaniya". Vazhno drugoe:
>--------------------------------------------

>a) Nowhere in PF is it said
>that Shade doesn't know Russian. Consequently, we may theoretically assume
>he does. Also important:
>-------------------------------------------------
>DBJ: THERE ARE ALL SORTS OF THINGS "NOT SAID" IN PF. I DON'T SEE THAT
THAT GIVES US THE RIGHT TO PRESUME THAT SHADE KNOWS RUSSIAN. AFTER ALL, WE
ARE SPECIFICALLY TOLD SEVERAL LANGUAGES HE DOES KNOW.
------------------------------------------------------------
b) Shade nazyvaet sredi
>velikikh russkich yumoristov Zoshchenko (Commentary, Line 172), a ne znaya
>russkogo, prochest' Zoshchenko nevozmozhno, kak i lyubimogo Pninym
>Leskova.
> -----------------------------------------------
>b) Shade names
>Zoshchenko among the great Russian humorists ("Commentary" line 172), and
>it is impossible to read Zoshchenko without knowing Russian -- like Pnin's
>beloved Leskov.
>-------------------------------------------
DBJ: IT'S NOT AT ALL UNLIKELY THAT A RUSSIAN-LESS SHADE MIGHT KNOW
ZOSHCHENKO'S STORIES. Z WAS WIDELY (IF PERHAPS BADLY) TRANSLATED
.
>c) Tretiy sbornik stikhov Shade'a nazyvalsya "Hebe's Cup". Tut uzh nikuda
ne >denesh'sya - aeto allyuzia na stikhotvorenie Tyutcheva "Lyublyu grozu v
>nachake maya...": "Ty skazhesh', vetrennaya Geba, / Kormya Zevesova orla,
>/ Gromokipyashchiy kubok s neba, / Smeyas', na zemlyu prolila."
>--------------------------------------------
>c) Shade's third poetry
>collection is entitled HEBE'S CUP. There is no getting away from the fact
>that this is an allusion to Tyutchev's "I love a thunderstorm at the
>beginning of May": "Thou wilt say, giddy, laughing Hebe,/ while feeding
>Zeus' eagle,/ has poured her thunderously-boiling goblet from the sky to the
>earth.
>-------------------------------------------------
DBJ: I DON'T SEE THAT SHADE'S POEM TITLE SHOWS THAT HE KNOWS THE TYUTCHEV
POEM. "HEBE'S CUP" IS AN IMAGE KNOWN TO EVERY ENGLISH PROFESSOR.
-------------------------------------------
>I nakonetz. Vydumat' Kinbota (tzelikom, vmeste s ego Zembloy),
ottalkivayas'
>ot lichnosti bezumnogo Botkina, dlya khudozhnika takogo razmera, kak Shade,
>delo ne samoe slozhnoye. "Real'nyi" Botkin, nosyashchiy tu zhe familiyu,
>chto i doctor tzarskoy sem'y, rasstrelyannyi v Ekaterinburge vmeste s
>Nikolaem, Aleksandroy i naslednikom, mog voobrazit' sebya kem ugodno, tem
>zhe Nikolaem II, bezhavshim na Nova Zembla i tak dalee. Fantazirovat' po
>povodu togo, chto na samom dele rasskazyval Botkin Shade'u mozhno
>beskonechno. Vazhno lish' to, vo chto Shade preobrazoval egoi fantazii.
>-----------------------------
>And finally. To invent Kinbote (as a whole together with his
>Zembla), starting from the personality of the mad Botkin, is not a
>terribly complex feat for an artist of Shade's stature. The "real" Botkin,
>bearing the same name as that of the physician to the Tsar's family, shot
>at Ekaterinburg along with Nikolai, Alexandra, and his heir, could have
>imagined himself to be whoever he wanted --even Nikolas II who has fled
to Nova Zembla and so on. One can fantasize endlessly about what Botkin
has been telling Shade. The only important thing is what Shade
transforms it into with his fantasy. SO I VOTE FOR SHADE.
----------------------
DBJ: I vote for Shade as author of the poem; Kinbote -- as author of
"Commentary" & Index. For supporting evidence, see my essay in _Worlds in
Regression: Some Novels of VN_.
>--------------------------------------------
>
>Sergey B. Il'in
><isb@glas.apc.org>
>Moscow (095) 476-68-48
>Pager: Operator: 961-3333 or 974-2222; Me: 29-942
>
>Nashe delo veseloe.
>
>