Anthony Stadlen: I don't think there's any "must". This list had a grand competition for line 1000, at my instigation, some years ago.
A. Sklyarenko: Well, I win. Once you’ve realized that Shade’s poem should have had a “coda,” you see that, first, Line 1000 = Line 1 = Line 131 (I was the shadow of the waxwing slain), and, second, Line 1001 (the poem’s coda) can not be anything but the version proposed by me: By its own double in the window pane. Shade, Kinbote and Gradus seem to represent three different aspects of V. Botkin, the American scholar of Russian descent who can be, for all we know, VN’s double. Dvoynik (“The Double,” 1904) is also a poem by Nik. T-o (Annenski’s penname that means “nobody” and is almost Botkin backwards). It begins: [   ] Not I, and not he, and not you,/Both what I am, and what I am not…


Jansy Mello: Leave it to VN’s “Pale Fire” to instigate readers again and again. I wonder how it will be read in twenty years from now. No short-circuits, I hope!


While searching for an apt quote (thanks to the wonders of the internet) I came to Brian Walter’s article in Zembla and now, instead of just referring to a joyful dance around the fire, I’ll bring up again a few of his paragraphs (every new reading of Nabokv demands a step into the past and amplifies its investigative territory and jewels ad infinitum):   

As is often the case, Nabokov anticipated and defined an approach that critics would find useful in the illumination his work, describing the intricate process of solving one of his chess compositions in terms that lend themselves quite well to the reader's experience of “Pale Fire”:

I remember one particular problem I had been trying to compose for months . . . It was meant for the delectation of the very expert solver. The unsophisticated might miss the point of the problem entirely, and discover its fairly simple, 'thetic' solution without having passed through the pleasurable torments prepared for the sophisticated one. The latter would start by falling for an illusory pattern of play based on a fashionable avant-garde theme . . . which the composer had taken the greatest pains to 'plant' . . . . Having passed through this 'antithetic' inferno the by now ultrasophisticated solver would reach the simple key move . . . as somebody on a wild goose chase might go from Albany to New York by way of Vancouver, Eurasia and the Azores. The pleasant experience of the roundabout route (strange landscapes, gongs, tigers, exotic customs, the thrice-repeated circuit of a newly married couple around the sacred fire of an earthen brazier) would amply reward him for the misery of the deceit, and after that, his arrival at the simple key would provide him with a synthesis of poignant artistic delight.’ (Speak, Memory 291-2)

Similarly, Nabokov's intricate compositions welcome the cooperative reader who will follow the 'false' leads simply for the pleasure of the chase. Nabokov’s ideal reader, in fact, will consent to join Kinbote in a circuitous dance around “Pale Fire.” And if the analogy holds true, then the pliant reader will reap the benefit of a new found “ultrasophistication" and in the "synthesis of poignant artistic delight" that results from the process…”


In a recent posting, A.Sklyarenko brought up John Shade’s lines on the figure that bicycle tires leave on the sand: “The infinity symbol ∞ is sometimes called “lemniscate.” is a poem by Nik. T-o (I. Annenski) included in Tikhie pesni (“Quiet Songs,” 1904)”.
So there’s a poem by Nik. T-o
(Nobody) with the infinite as its title. It gives an additional intricacy to the pattern when we remember include PF’s actress Iris Acht (Acht: eight,8…attention), as it’s been discussed in the past. Going back to the tires on the sand, the word “sand” itself carries us over to a forgotten rubber band and Shade’s verses:


“…this good ink, this rhyme,

                                                  This index card, this slender rubber band

                                                  Which always forms, when dropped, an ampersand,

                                                  Are found in Heaven by the newlydead

                                                  Stored in its strongholds through the years.” (532-36)


The rubber band, in this case, must have been ruptured somewhere for, as an “ampersand” it extrapolates the sign for “infinite”- but it’s also preserved in Shade’s particular Heaven.


Imagem relacionada

Google Search
the archive
the Editors
NOJ Zembla Nabokv-L
Subscription options AdaOnline NSJ Ada Annotations L-Soft Search the archive VN Bibliography Blog

All private editorial communications are read by both co-editors.