NABOKV-L post 0000551, Mon, 3 Apr 1995 14:02:15 -0700

Re: signs and symbols (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 1995 8:51:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: re: signs and symbols

I would like to go on record as disagreeing with the credentialed
gentleman(of last week), but not with the person who followed him.
Of course, the ending of "Signs and Symbols" is ambiguous.
However, I think many interpreters are making the mistake of making
this story autobiographical in more than just a superficial way. Nabokov
himself would have been the first to laugh at that. (And if the prevailing
criticism feels this story is autobiographical, perhaps it is time to
reinvent the wheel again.)
Ultimately, it does not matter one iota who is on the line the
third time. I would like to think it might be "the Prince," drunk
and sentimental, wanting to reconcile with his brother. Or better
yet, someone looking for a donation.
What does matter, to me, is that I don't find these two people
very appealing or sympathetic. They both lack imagination and
spirit. And I believe Nabokov meant them to be seen as such. Hense,
my feeling that Nabokov would set the son free of them -- if not
before the third phone call then hopefully sometime soon after.