NABOKV-L post 0024141, Fri, 3 May 2013 18:32:12 -0700

The Electric Shepherd
JF:So what do you think? Did he kill his father when he was between
three-and-a-half and four-and-a-half? How old was he when he killed his
mother? How old might Judge Goldsworth have been when that picture was taken,
and is that consistent with what we know about him later? Is Kinbote wrong when
he says that the pictures were "of people he had sent to prison and condemned to
death", or did little Johnny go to prison and get out in time to marry Sybil,
who didn't mind his having killed his parents? And did Kinbote read this little
criminal's life history, which he said was in the album, and suppress the fact
that it was Shade's?

Dear JF,

No, I don't think that at the age of less than five Shade killed his father.
That would even be hard for Hannibal Lecter. I don't know how old Shade was when
he committed or attempted to commit murder. I have no idea when Judge G was
born. Or if he even lived next door, or even existed in the "real world" of New
Wye. We only have Kinbote to go by there.

I doubt anyone condemned Shade to death. Child murders are so rare, but so far
as I know none of them has ever been put to death. There's a very famous case of
a little girl, Mary Bell, who killed a littler boy in England and several other
children. She was jailed until she reached maturity. Gita Serenyi wrote a book
about her. Then there were Leopold and Loeb, defended successfully by Clarence
Darrow - but they were really young men when they murdered. Then the two girls,
teenagers who murdered the mother of one who stood in the way of their traveling
together with the other girl's family to South Africa. Movie: Heavenly Creatures
(highly recommended). Jailed until maturity, one in England and the other in New
Zealand (the daughter of the murdered mother), they were both released at the
age of 21. One dropped off into obscurity, the one in England became a popular
writer of murder mysteries. Stranger than fiction?

The "youngest child murder" I could find by googling was a six year old boy in
Kentucky 6-year-old tried for murder

So it can happen. But in the fifties and sixties? I doubt it was heard of.

But getting back to your question about Kinbote -- he was sure interested in
that book if indeed such a book existed - that kitty cat? don't you think it was
really - in quotes - Fleur?

Did Kinbote suppress what?! Kinbote supresses ab so lute ly nothing -- he's
Shade's subconscious alter ego! He remembers ev er y thing that Shade is trying
so hard to forget! Well that's what happens when you have two personalities - at
least so I've been told. Jamais couchée avec!*

Carolyn (CK)

*learned this expression from Lumintsa, a fabulous Rumanian woman. When you
asked her if she ever heard of Vladimir Nabokov (for example) she'd say "jamais
couchée avec". Anyway, I've never met a multiple personality -- but, if it
interests you, there is an excellent book on the subject.

The Electric Shepherd: A Likeness of James Hogg (2004) Karl Miller

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