Recently, I suggested that the gunshot that killed Shade might be related to the gunshot Ansel Bourne heard when he shifted from one personality to another. I recently came upon another case--that of a Charles Brewin--documented by the Society of Psychical Research in which the same auditory effect supposedly accompanied the transition of a person out of a fugue state and back into his original personality. These accounts of Bourne and Brewin are found together here:
Thanks to JA and JF for their interesting colloquy on Pale Fire. All very insightful and informative. Part of their discussion brought me back to the problem of the supernatural as it occurs in the book. I am curious how others comprehend the poltergeist events in Kinbote's note to line 230, supposedly related to him (in astonishing detail) by Jane Provost, Shade's former secretary. It seems to me that we have a few choices to make regarding this material.
1. We can accept that it all happened as reported. In this case, we have to accept a fictional world in which there exist real poltergeists who can throw dishes and move dictionary stands and zoom dog baskets down the hall. And we have to accept that John & Sybil witnessed these events and accepted that they were "an outward extension or expulsion of insanity" (Hazel's). (Btw, I agree with Kinbote that it doesn't make much sense, and even seems cruel, for them to blame Hazel.)
2. We can (along with Kinbote, I think) believe that John & Sybil were tricked by Hazel into thinking that supernatural events were afoot, when in fact Hazel was responsible.
3. We can believe that Kinbote made the whole thing up. But why?
Any other options? I most often find myself voting for a combination of 2 & 3.
Matt Roth
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