Sunday, May 26, 2024

“The monstrous semblance of a novel” in Vladimir Nabokov’s “Pale Fire” (1962)

In Vladimir Nabokov's novel "Pale Fire", Charles Kinbote writes his notes to John Shade's poem "Pale Fire" and includes a line "written [...] in the margin of the draft": "The evening is the time to praise the day". In the political and poetic world that Nabokov builds in his novel, that line in a draft is only saved by the work of the annotator. But in Nabokov's novel itself, it is not a deleted line but part of the final version in which Nabokov turns a fictional poem and its annotations into what Kinbote himself explicitly does not want his work of annotation to become: "the monstrous semblance of a novel". (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 26 May 2024) 

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