Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pale Fire

What Is Pale Fire?

“Pale Fire is not designed to be one overarching problem, but many interlocking ones.”—nnyhav, “Realighting on Pale Fire,” Stochastic Bookmark 13.3.12

“Pale Fire is a Jack-in-the-box, a Faberge gem, a clockwork toy, a chess problem, an infernal machine, a trap to catch reviewers, a cat-and-mouse game, a do-it-yourself novel.”—Mary McCarthy, The New Republic, June 4, 1962

So, if I may ask, what is Pale Fire? A book? A novel? A poem? A clever satire on academic research? A kitschy lit crit set-up? A mise-en-abyme story-within-a story? All these analogues are rabbit-holes—each choice will probably take us down into many different Alice and Wonderlands.

But taking all these avenues as well as NABOKOV-L into consideration, well, I tend to agree with nnyhav that Pale Fire is dominated with a concern for an otherworld or even otherworld(s):

“But underarching the oeuvre are a watermarked concern with an otherworld (potustoronnost, an orbit overlapping the afterlife … [I tend towards eccentric usuage of ellipses]), per Véra, and an unflagging dedication of the work to Véra herself (however much he strayed outside the text).”—nnyhav, “Realighting on Pale Fire,” Stochastic Bookmark 13.3.12

So where are the crown-jewels?

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