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Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokow: John Shade's Pale Fire (1)
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Vladimir Nabokov:
Pale Fire
A Poem in four Cantos by John Shade
Edited by Brian Boyd / Illustrated by Jean Holabird
Commentary by Brian Boyd and R.S. Gwynn
Many think Pale Fire is Nabokov’s greatest novel. At its heart beats a 999-line poem, penned by its fictional hero, John Shade. This first-ever facsimile edi­tion of the poem shows it to be not just a fictional device but also a master­piece of American poetry, albeit by an invented persona.
Vladimir Nabokow: John Shade's Pale Fire (image 2)
Vladimir Nabokow: John Shade's Pale Fire (image 2)
click image for large view
In the novel, Shade’s mad neighbor, Charles Kinbote, absconds with the poem, compiling an ostensible line-by-line commentary that largely ignores Shade's text and heeds only his own egotism. Kinbote’s commentary, the bulk of the novel, is an insane comic triumph of would-be romantic self-celebration that cannot quite mute its undertones of desperation. But in this new publication we rescue the poem from the madman's hand, and provide even-handed commentary on Nabokov’s most ambitious poem.

Nabokov authority Brian Boyd explains the poem on its and Shade’s own terms, comparing its texture with the best of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Poet R.S. Gwynn sets it in the context of American poetry of its time. Artist Jean Holabird, who conceived the project, illustrates key details of the poem’s pattern and pathos.

Now readers can see the text for themselves, fresh from Shade’s hands, before Kinbote commandeered it so shamelessly.

Vladimir Nabokow: John Shade's Pale Fire (book)
This attractive box contains two booklets — the poem “Pale Fire” in a handsome pocket edition and the book of essays by Boyd and Gwynn — as well as facsimiles of the index cards that John Shade (like his maker, Nabokov) used for com-posing his poem, printed exactly as Nabokov described them.
40 pages in book 1 – “Pale Fire”
48 pages in book 2 – “Pale Fire” - Reflections
50 Index Cards

2 Paperback books in a Deluxe Box, 7 1/4'' x 10'' (184 x 254 mm)
5 color illustrations, English
ISBN: 978-1-58423-431-9   $ 35.00
About the Author:
Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd is University Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He has published widely on Vladimir Nabokov, including a two-volume biography, books on Pale Fire and Ada, and the website AdaOnline.
See also:

Vladimir Nabokov: Alphabet in Color
Vladimir Nabokov:
Alphabet in Color
Illustrated by NY artist Jean Holabird, Nabokov’s colored sounds come to light. Vladimir Nabokov could hear color. As he described it — perhaps “hearing” is not quite accurate, since “the color sensation seems to be produced by the very act of my orally forming a given letter while I imagine its outline...” more...

Nabokov: Photographs by Horst Tappe
Photographs by Horst Tappe
Until Nabokov’s death in 1977, Tappe photographed the world-renowned author of Lolita in private as well as on the Swiss mountain slopes catching butterflies (Nabokov once stated "My pleasures are the most intense known to man: writing and butterfly hunting"). more...
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