Eklund, Erik. "The Name of God has priority": "God" and the Apophatic Element in Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire. 2022.

Author(s)
Bibliographic title
"The Name of God has priority": "God" and the Apophatic Element in Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire
Periodical or collection
Literature and Theology
Periodical issue
36, no. 3
Page(s)
298–315
Publication year
Abstract

However one might interpret Vladimir Nabokov’s self-styled "utter indifference" to religion, mysticism and theology, Nabokov’s 1962 metafictional masterpiece, Pale Fire, betrays a measured though nonetheless peculiar engagement with theological ideas and sources. Focusing on the novel’s theological centre—Charles Kinbote’s note to line 549 of John Shade’s poem ("While snubbing gods, including the big G"), which records Kinbote’s conversation with Shade on 23 June 1959 about religion and God—this article uncovers Pale Fire’s direct engagement with core tenets of the apophatic theologies of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, and argues, moreover, that this works to highlight the analogy which the novel seeks to express between theological and literary discourse.