March 12, 2007

Commentary and Structure: Nobokov's Pale Fire

Nabokov, Pale Fire -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"To this statement my dear poet would probably not have subscribed, but, for better or worse, it is the commentator who has the last word. (Nabokov 29).

I would have loved to have used a piece of the heroic couplets from the cantos, but for an intertextual criticism, I would like to focus on the relationship between the commentary and the cantos. It appears to me that one can not be written without the other, although both are masterful. John Shade's cantos are far too brilliant and not very understandable to the common reader, so actually the commentary provides itself as its own form of literature because of how broad the cantos are.

Here's a question: Why 999 lines? Why not go for the 1,000? On page 37, there is only one line that does not rhyme in their entire poem, and all it says is "Bicycle Tires." Am I reading way too much into this, or is there really a true significance behind the Bicycle Tires? Is it useful that the title actually rhymes with Bicycle Tires, so should pale fire be the thousandth line we are looking for? I can see some relations, but like many other people, I feel a little bit confused, which really makes me nervous about the upcoming exercise.

I think that the difficult question really is: How can we make a relationship between Pale Fire and another piece of literature? I have a stab based off of structualism, but I really think I might be stretching. Dr. Jerz, if you're listening, I would like to discuss my idea, and hopefully not crash and burn.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at March 12, 2007 8:36 PM

I think that the intertextuality lies mainly in the novel itself with not only the commentary but also the foreword.
If one of the three were missing, we would all be confused and unsure of what the overall theme and intentions were.

The idea that both characters in the book are fake personas is a crazy idea taht could not have been noticed without the commentary.

I think that we could relate Pale Fire to any other text that shows two characters that are playing a fake persona, one who has two personalites, or basically any novel.

Posted by: Denamarie at March 15, 2007 12:17 AM

I am just really enjoying the fact that both of these play off of each other, and that one cannot truly function without the other. I found such an interesting notation between Kinbote and Shade, and these are very influential to not only each ohter, but toward the reader's interpretations as well. I found it very interesting, and overall, I really enjoyed Nabokov's novel, and I think that it was perfect for this week's discussion.

Posted by: Jason Pugh at April 4, 2007 10:08 PM
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