I received Dieter Zimmer's annotated Fahles Feuer in the mail the other day (via Amazon Germany) and have been picking through it with my limited knowledge of German and the hilarious but somewhat useful Google Translate tool. It's worth the trouble, as DZ has quite a bit to say about the novel and its various interpreters/interpretations. He admires Boyd's theory, but doesn't buy it, in part because to assert a massive intervention by ghostly directors takes too much autonomy away from the individual artist, whose autonomy VN prized above all else. Also, I was slightly chagrined (but honored?) to find my Hazel-Incest theory (along with Carolyn's original Shade-in-Asylum theory) held up as a prime example of "interpretive hubris." DZ was kind enough to withhold my name, and I of course would say that really he was presenting a parody of my theory, a straw man, etc. But never mind. (And I did find my name in better circumstances later on.)
Anyway, I was interested to see that DZ cited posts to the listserv throughout his notes and even cites a post by Mary Bellino in the "further reading" bibliography. On the other hand, there is material in the footnotes which I think could be traced back to a discovery on the listserv but DZ doesn't acknowledge a source. This got me to thinking about the challenge of this forum in terms of giving credit where credit is due. In my own articles on PF, I often struggle to decide which listserv posts are worthy of a citation and which are not. Certainly discoveries of allusions and sources should be cited, but what about basic insights about, or interpretations of, VN's books. I can imagine that a newly-minted VN scholar, upon discovering this listserv, would feel unduly burdened if we said that he or she is responsible for citing everything that has appeared here. So...I wonder if anyone has a rule of thumb when it comes to citing the list. And do we b
elieve that Nabokovians (whether listmembers or not) have an obligation to be familiar with the contents of the list? What are our obligations exactly?
Finally, reading all of that German led me to a possible insight about Timofey Pnin's last address, 999 Todd Rd. Given that VN often uses the number 9 as a marker for the border between two states (life-death, sanity-insanity, innocence-experience), I think we might read "999 Todd" as "999 Tod," which in German means "death." Pnin, happily, makes a miraculous escape.