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March 6, 2007

EL312: Nabokov will play you, fool

I'm feeling a little at a loss for words at the moment.

I've been working my way through "Pale Fire" much in the same ways I assume coal miners first plunge into the depths of the earth, not knowing what they'll find in such promising darkness, other than more and more earth. Regardless, miners must dig those mines and find the coal they went down for--similarly, I've told myself that even though I'm wallowing in pages of pages and losing myself in a made-up format I'm bound to figure this out if I just keep beating at the dirt around me.

I thought I'd blog about this now since I'm working my way through the book. Again. I did look up some things online and that proved to be helpful (*ahem* classmates: you may want to do this before or while you're reading if you get stuck, but don't rely on it).

I admit it--at first I picked up the book and thought I was reading a poem with excessive and (at times) pointless commentary by someone who knew this Shade guy pretty darned well. I really thought this was an okay poem (maybe not the best thing ever, but decent...) and I related it to Chaucer's "Parlement of Foules" in my mind (the first canto anyway with all the mentions of birds). I kept looking at the names in the foreword, commentary, and poem searching for this Nabokov guy but coming up with nothing. I didn't know what to think, really. Maybe he was the editor?

Now that I have my own naivety on the line (thankyouverymuch), I'm going to take a second stab at getting to the point of this text. Sheesh. If I didn't feel so "played" I might find this more interesting, but at the moment I'm just sort of annoyed, I guess. Maybe tomorrow I'll find it amusing or cute. Tonight I'm reading straight fiction that I know was written by the person named on the cover. The characters are really fake and I know they are, and nobody lied to me to make me think otherwise.

Maybe tomorrow I'll think this is cute. In the meantime, I trust no one named Vladimir. God help me if I dream about this...

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

Posted by KarissaKilgore at March 6, 2007 9:49 PM


: whistles tunelessly while looking innocently at the ceiling.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz Author Profile Page at March 6, 2007 10:00 PM

Don't let the Pale Fire burn you. I think I had gotten third degree burns from the first to cantos alone. Nabokov is writing in a structure that I have not seen before in my literary career. This reminds me of the my Intro to Literary Study class as we walked through the verbal quicksand know as the Diamond Age. I think it is written in the same way. An author within an author. Even though I am halfway finished I think there is a message to Dr. Jerz's madness (I hope there is). I find the peom interesting yet I have a very natural feeling of being lost in the woods and hearing leaves rustling. I know something is there...but I don't know what.

Posted by: Kevin "Kelo The Great" Hinton at March 6, 2007 11:00 PM

Kevin, I can't say I agree with you on the Diamond Age comment... but I'm getting Pale Fire as I read through again. I'm guessing that most folks have to read this again unless their professors don't hide such pertinent information from them before a first read :-p

Not sure how to whistle tunelessly, Dr. Jerz. :) You've got a lot of adverbs going on there... haha.

Posted by: Karissa at March 6, 2007 11:21 PM

Do you disagree on the verbal quicksand comment or the author within an author comment? Just a little curious. LOL.

Posted by: Kevin "Kelo The Great" Hinton at March 6, 2007 11:44 PM

Apparently she disagrees with the "whistles tunelessly" comment, too. ;)

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz Author Profile Page at March 7, 2007 9:04 AM

Oh for crying out loud, haha.

Kevin, I disagreed with the idea of the author within an author comment about the Diamond Age. Reflecting upon my own experiences with the book, I don't think the same can be said for that book as is true with Pale Fire. That is all.

And I don't even know what to say about the tuneless comment. I just don't know how to whistle without any tune. Sheesh. ;)

Posted by: Karissa at March 7, 2007 9:29 AM

I must say, I just finished the 4 cantos and got a laugh out of some of his bird comments especially Les pauvres cigales, which seemed to be mismatched with the stanzas above it--oh,well! The form was scatter-brained and freestyle, which is similar to my own style, but hell if I know what he was saying sometimes. My favorite sad line is "No lips would share the lipstick of her smoke." (p. 46, line 329) As for the commentary, if he mentions regicide once more, I will make everyone wear Burger King crowns so we can all relate to Zemblans and kings as we discuss this lovely commentary chock-full of examples of author intent, historical criticism, and...now I'm going to shut up and do some online research thanks Miss K :) Now whistle Leave it to Beaver for me since all of you can whistle (I can't, boo!) and that will speed up my exit in record timing, Haha!

Posted by: Erin at March 8, 2007 8:06 PM

LOL, thanks for your humorous comments, Miss Erin :) Yes, I think I'm getting more out of it after reading again AND looking up things about it online. I was able to find some cool stuff about it... Hopefully all of our classmates will have similar experiences, eh? ;)

Posted by: Karissa at March 8, 2007 8:32 PM

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