March 13, 2007

Persona to the rescue

Since I was having such a hard time figuring out Pale Fire, I decided to look up persona since I felt that the author was using Kinbote as his persona in the novel. I discovered that the definition that I was going by in order to use that word was wrong. The persona is usually "the any first-person poem or narrative." I always thought that a persona could be used by anyone and in a way I was right because the definition does go on to say that "the persona often serves as the 'voice' of the author" however the author sees fit. It is also used as a protection barrier by some people and I got to wondering if that was why Nabokov decided to choose two differing personas to present his work. The persona of the dying old man writing his last work or the persona of the hot shot youngster that thought he knew everything. It is def. Something to think about.

Murfin and Ray, Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by Tiffany Brattina at March 13, 2007 12:14 AM | TrackBack

Good -- I'd like to foreground the idea that both Shade and Kinbote are fictional characters, and each has a first-person presence in Pale Fire. The poem supposedly written by Shade exists as a literary object that can be studied, even though the fictional authorship complicates our almost instinctual interest in author biography. But Kinbote's sad, romantic, bizarre narrative also exists as a coherent narrative, even though Nabokov delivers it through footnotes.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 14, 2007 12:11 AM
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