NABOKV-L post 0024247, Mon, 20 May 2013 11:26:20 -0700

Re: thoughts: 4000 times
Dear Laurence,

I do not know how long you have been a list member or how much outside reading
on Pale Fire you have done, but there is an alternate reading of Pale Fire that
does not recognize Mr Shade and Dr Kinbote as entirely separate entities. There
is some evidence that Charles is a secondary repressed personality, "alter ego"
if you will, who has been spying on his "older brother" John since his birth
(that subject has been recently discussed I'm sure you noticed).

But since he has the best seat in the house, so to speak, he sees all and
recalls all. What he understands of course is hard to say. But he is the
"unreliable narrator" who breaks the rule, at least according to this
interpretation of the novel. I personally find him to be much more reliable than
his older brother.


From: laurence hochard <laurence.hochard@HOTMAIL.FR>
Sent: Mon, May 13, 2013 5:37:30 PM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] thoughts: 4000 times

I wonder if anybody has ever noticed a slight inconsistency in Kinbote's account
of his spying on the his note to line 181:
"On another trip to the bathroom one hour and a half later, at sunrise, I found
the light transferred to the bedroom, and smiled indulgently, for, according to
my deductions, only two nights had passed since the
three-thousand-nine-hundred-ninety-ninth time - but no matter."
He alludes to "At least / four thousand times your pillow has been creased / by
our two heads (l 275/6)" of course, but at the time of his spying, he couldn't
know since he hadn't read the poem and therefore, he can't have smiled
indulgently; he can only do so in retrospect, when writing his commentary.
Could the inconsistecy be deliberate, here as well as about Kinbote's birthdate?
Did VN want to discreetly blur the time landmarks so as to maintain ambiguity as
to the identity of the characters? Or are they simply mistakes?

(Apologies if the subject has already been discussed on the forum; I searched
the archives but didn't find anything)

Laurence Hochard

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