While Shakespeare turns Ophelia's drowning into a moment of eerie aesthetic beauty, line 500 in Shade's poem bluntly describes Hazel's disappearing in the water of the lake, an indefinite shape, not the memorable beauty adorned with flowers: itself seems to encourage autobiographical reading.
Kinbote treats Shade's poem as essentially a fictionalized account of Kinbote's own life, while also acknowledging it as an autobiography of Shade. all the many subliminal debts to me" (Nabokov 1989a, 297; emphasis added). The whole process of reworking memories into fiction, like the process of sublimation, supposes a reversal of the terms involved: father-son, author-character.
Nabokov remembers that, going back home that day in 1912 and fearing his father's death, he was pondering, not unlike Hamlet, what the weapon would be: "What would his adversary choose, I kept asking myself — the blade or the bullet? Here, Nabokov himself seems to wonder how to narrate this painful memory: obliquely through literature (the blade, Hamlet), or directly (the bullet)? But as Boyd has pointed out (Boyd 2001, 177), the phrase "pale fire" also occurs in the final words the Ghost speaks to Hamlet: that Nabokov places the key to his own oblique mirroring and sublimation of the more logical reference: the very passage where the phrase "pale fire" occurs speaks of theft, which is Nabokov's metaphorical way to refer to translation and intertextual writing (as Meyer points out [1999, 111]).
-derived, name — Bodkin — and inside the words, as in Hamlet's "wordswordswords" and the daggers he speaks to Gertrude. Having no library in the desolate log cabin where I live like Timon in his cave, I am compelled for the purpose of quick citation to retranslate this passage into English prose from a Zemblan poetical version of Timon which, I hope, sufficiently approximates the text, or is at least faithful to its spirit:.
Genders as well as letters are reversed in Zemblan translation, as Shakespeare's female moon becomes a "he" in Kinbote's retranslation.
Taken metatextually, this gender reversal reflects Nabokov's perception of his textual mechanism and pale fire as a she.From his poetry class, he seems to remember only "an extramural lady on crutches" and not the sexy blonde: "Come, come," said Professor Hurley, "do you mean, John, you really don't have a mental or visceral picture of that stunning blonde in the black leotard who haunts Lit. " Shade, all his wrinkles beaming, benignly tapped Hurley on the wrist to make him stop.(Nabokov 1989a, 21) Turning the lover Ophelia into the daughter Hazel is a consequence of constructing a non-visceral, non-sexual Hamlet in Shade.The duel scene was doubly connected with a real scene for Nabokov: it is how Pushkin died and how his father almost died.Nabokov's translation of , Kinbote writes his introduction to Shade's poem (written in cantos, like Pushkin's verse novel), then gives the text of the poem — though the larger part of the entire text is made up of Kinbote's comments on Shade's poem. would be no "pale" reflection, being too obvious a reference, as Kinbote quotes it in his comments.It has long been noted that Hamlet's name echoes that of Shakespeare's son Hamnet, who had died in 1596, but it is equally notable that Shakespeare played the Ghost (the father) on the stage rather than Hamlet (the son).He was at the same time father and son, reversing the real roles by bringing the fathers back to life, vividly though fleetingly, on stage.Some have projected their own cultural and ideological agenda onto the play (Goethe's Romantic Hamlet who is pure thought and no action, Coleridge's and Schlegel's philosophical Hamlets), sometimes finding in Hamlet an autobiographical reflection of their own anxieties and a way to explore the father-son relationship.This led Coleridge to say that "I have a smack of Hamlet myself" (Coleridge 1990, 61) and Schlegel to anticipate Freud's influential psychoanalytic reading by talking about "hidden purposes" and "a foundation laid in such unfathomable depth" (Schlegel 2004, 141).Chiasmus is more than a rhetorical device; for both Shakespeare and Nabokov, it encompasses their negotiation of the father-son relationship, understood both autobiographically in terms of identity and metatextually as the question of authorship.was completed in 1601, the year of the death of Shakespeare's father, John.