NABOKV-L post 0024210, Thu, 9 May 2013 19:13:23 -0700

ck replies to Alladaye and JM
Dear Rene if I may,

My reading (not a critic in any important way, but I do have my ideas) does
actually address the amusement park question. Matt's reading is based on mine to
a limited extent, so I'm not sure if he agrees with me that Shade ends up in an
institution. Whether there really is an amusement park in front of it, or
perhaps it's only the noises (radios from other rooms perhaps) that make him
interpret his situation that way, I'm not sure. I did early on point out that
there are two voices (which later develop into a fugue in both meanings of the
word - musical and psychological) in those opening lines.

Sybil does not give the ms to anyone but her husband, if indeed this happens - I
don't recall it at the moment. Have to dig out a copy of PF, clearly.
Physically, Kinbote and her husband are the same person (Matt, are you with me

Do Sybil and Hazel work together to produce Pale Fire? Not the way Matt and I
read it. Two characters, two voices if you prefer, do work, maybe not together,
more at cross purposes to each other, but Shade and Kinbote, two persons in one
body, are the authors of Pale Fire, as written by one American of Russian


p.s. The thunder I have been hearing out my south facing window has not only
crept stealthily closer over the past half hour or so, but the lightning is now
visible and I hear rain drops. It could be a movie from the neighbor's house,
but not being in an institution, I rawther doubt it. It's really raining!

"Dear Jansy,

The Monkey (Eupithecia Nabokovi, a 'good monkey' in your quotation below) and
the nearby reference to the poets and their conceits recall my favorite poem of
Nabokov's 'On Translating Eugene Onegin' (if that' s not the exact title, it is
the subject of the poem). There are both a monkey and the poet's head, like the
prophet's, on a plate (ostensibly to be served up to heathens who do not take
the trouble to learn the Russian language so as to be able to read EO in its
original glory).

But who wrote "Nor marble, nor the gilded monuments ...."? Not Shakespeare.
Could it refer to ASP'sExegii Monumentum (at least he knew some Latin!). I love
the story about Jakobson and a Salisbury steak eaten on a Friday, and the
reference to an elephant (slon, rhyming almost with stone) named V Nabokov.

A friend and I wrote a song to Roman Jakobson (after Kurt Weill's Poor Jenny) -
a few lines of which are:

Roman made his mind up at 75
That he would live to be the oldest Slavist alive;
But analyzing grammar can play awfully mean tricks
And poor Roman gave up Russian at 76.

Actually I do not know, without googling, how old RJ was when he did kick the
old vedro, but I'd bet he survived a few decades beyond ... Well, he made it to
85 - not bad considering that we wrote the pastiche in, what, 1963!

p.s. Interesting tidbit re RJ (from Wikipedia of course) - he was saved by Franz
Boas (the anthropologist, teacher of M. Mead, influenced Claude Levi-Strauss)
In New York, he began teaching at The New School, still closely associated with
the Czech emigre community during that period. At the École libre des hautes
études, a sort of Francophone university-in-exile, he met and collaborated
with Claude Lévi-Strauss, who would also become a key exponent of structuralism.
He also made the acquaintance of many American linguists and anthropologists,
such as Franz Boas, Benjamin Whorf, and Leonard Bloomfield. When the American
authorities considered "repatriating" him to Europe, it was Franz Boas who
actually saved his life. After the war, he became a consultant to
the International Auxiliary Language Association, which would
present Interlingua in 1951.

Jansy wrote:

I equally learned why a "red label" is mentioned in VN's poem "On Discovering a
Also that "The butterfly in question, incidentally, was a pug moth named
'Eupithecia nabokovi' ... Be that as it may, on solving a couple more Nabokov
charades, one is tempted to ask the otherworldly VN whether he himself has
noticed that hiding in the scholarly name of his Eupithecia Nabokovi is a 'good
monkey'." and "Of course poets have long espoused the conceit that words are the
surest form of immortality - "Not marble, nor the gilded monuments / Of princes,
shall outlive this powerful rhyme" quoth the Bard - but Nabokov trumps even that
with his "thus became [...] its first describer -- and I want no other fame."
And although he says "it will transcend its dust", the temptation is
irresistible to read, uperposed on the "it", a triumphant 'I'.".

and one related to Jakobson and a Salisbury steak eaten on a Friday: "When Roman
Jakobson—great linguist, Harvard professor—was approached some years ago with
the suggestion that Vladimir Nabokov might be appointed professor of Slavic,
Jakobson was skeptical; he had nothing against elephants, he said, but he would
not appoint one professor of zoology...The analogy compares the elegant and
stylish Nabokov—novelist in various languages, lepidopterist, lecturer, and
critic—to the great, gray, hulking pachyderm, intellectually noted only for
memory. . . . By jokes and analogies we reveal ourselves. Jakobson condescends
to Nabokov—just as Plato patted little Ion on his head, just as Sartre makes
charitable exception for poets in What Is Literature?..." Classics | Narrative

and... a lot more!

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