I am new to this group. I am fairly new to Nabokov studies, as well – I was ignited by Pale Fire. I am writing a thesis on the influence of Carl Jung and alchemy in that work. I’ve arrived at some pretty interesting insights, including some convincing “word-golf”. I am stuck, though, at Hazel’s message in the barn. I am not at all satisfied with the "Padre should not go to the lane” solution. Is anyone aware of alternate solutions? From my thesis:
I find it hard to believe that this clumsy interpretation is correct, or at least is incomplete. I would expect something far more elegant from Nabokov. Nabokov is quite the dissembler, so I think it likely that his endorsement of Boyd’s solution may be his way of saying, “Everybody seems to accept this solution, so fine, you ask me and I’ll just tell you that, because I am not going to give it away”. Nabokov rarely “gives away,” but deflects his answers. My supposition is that this “riddle” has as many layers as the whole book. The surface layer he’s made tricky, but not all that hard to figure out. This is what Brian Boyd has done. It is the surface story of John Shade’s eventual death. I think Nabokov took the “scrabbled” letters and arranged them as best he could into certain “clue” words in order to lead the solver in the right direction, but that this may be intended as just the “thetic” solution on the level of plot. A deeper level we would expect to bring in the synthetic level of the major theme of the work. I suspect it is an anagram, in fact, Nabokov suggests so when he has Hazel write in her notes “10:23. Scrappy and scrabbly sounds”. The ultimate solution should be like the game “Scrabble”, an anagram. I believe the solution will not be found until all the letters are arranged to make sense. I also feel that a truly elegant solution would be in an iambic couplet, and possibly that would be from a poem that exists. The poem would reveal the psychological/alchemical trope of anima, sacred marriage, and individuation via Hazel. I suspect that this deeper level will also reveal the missing two letters, which I would surmise to be “VN”. Therefore, a truly elegant solution would be an anagram of a poem by Nabokov on the subject of “sacred marriage”, or, as the oft alluded to myth of Atalanta, the “Marriage of Art and Nature”.
Are there any wordsmiths, anagramatists, scrabbleers out there that would be interested in helping me find a solution to this? I have made a list of all the words I could think of contained in message, but have not come to any satisfactory solutions. I would be happy to share my work-in-progress, interested.
Thanks, Mary Ross
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