Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000300, Tue, 19 Jul 1994 14:57:07 -0700

Re: Arion Press (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 1994 23:51:36 GMT+1200

1) The Field material in the archive sale is virtually all in carbon
copies in the Berg collection, along with Field's side of the
correspondence, which he didn't keep copies of, so while it might be of
some value to a private collector, it's not the coup it might seem for an
institutional one (the NYPL is certainly not interested).

2) The Arion Press, 460 Bryant Street, San Francisco, CA 94107, has just
published at $600 a limited edition (200 copies) of Pale Fire. While I do
not normally care for limited editions, this is the finest version of any
of Nabokov's books ever produced, designed with imagination, wit, and
scrupulous care. The prospectus even links the image of V.D. Nabokov being
tossed up against the cobalt blue of the summer sky, as seen by VN through
the dining room window and retrospectively eternalized in Speak Memory,
with the azure in the poem's opening windowpane. In view of the
sublimating of both VDN's death and Hazel's in Pale Fire, this hits the
mark, and I wish I'd made the connection myself.
The text has been corrected even beyond the level of the Vintage
edition. There are two books, in a boxed set, one an imposing large quarto
volume of the whole text, with a superb typeface, wide margins, uncut
foredges; the other a small additional copy of the poem for ease of
reference, with pages the size of, and ruled like, index cards, and the
text distributed on the cards as Kinbote's description records. The cloth
binding is moire, appropriately, with on the front cover a disk enclosing
the words "Pale Fire," which from one angle looks almost sunny yellow on a
blue (not quite azure) background, and from another looks moonishly silver
against a washed-out night sky. Expensive, but if someone owes you a big
treat. . . .

From: Associate Professor Brian Boyd
Department of English, University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand
FAX: + 64 (9) 373 7429
e-mail: bboyd@engnov1.auckland.ac.nz