GS Lipon:..."if you read Pale Fire the way I do,that Shade becomes significantly unglued at the end;if so then you can see a fundamental similarity between it & Poe's The Raven: both attempt to chronicle the decline of the mind into some form of dementia..."

JM: There are all kinds of literary dementia. Take Ada's: "The ‘D’ in the name of Aqua’s husband stood for Demon (a form of Demian or Dementius), and thus was he called by his kin." (Nabokov's "Dark Raven"). Over and over, whenever I turn to this novel, Van's rejection of Lucette irks me. Perhaps the best way to look at it is not by evaluating how Lucette fits into a family chronicle, but by how she doesn't fit. Only girls with demonic blood can endure Van's proximity without becoming mad and, Marina Durmanov's and Daniel Veen's daughter should have inherited a demonic protection, but Lucette did not.  Although she commits suicide, she isn't mad. How mad can madness become ? Lucette is often brought close to Voltemand's/Hamlet's spurned Ophelia and, like her, she drowns*.  If mermaid-like Ophelia doesn't belong to the human world, should we also consider fey Lucette (who surfaces as a tiny nymph) one who doesn't belong to the world of, say, Anti-terra? What's her role in the novel: is it to set aside Van as an avenger in a demonstration of filial piety (Van?) intent on restoring a throne (throne?) to its rightful King?  
* One doesn't witness Ophelia's drowning in Shakespeare. It's the Queen who makes the report: "When down her weedy trophies and herself/Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,/And mermaid-like awhile they bore her up;/Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes,/As one incapable of her own distress,/Or like a creature native and indu'd/Unto that element; but long it could not be/Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,/Pull'd the poor/wretch from her melodious lay/To muddy death." (IV.7.166-83.)
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