Pale Fire

Pale Fire, Nabokov's 14th novel and 5th in English, Putnam, 1962; reprinted, Perigee Books, 1980; 2nd edition, Lancer Books, 1966. (Pale Fire can be found in most public libraries and is available online from Amazon.com and from Barnes & Noble. Also published as a Penguin Classic by Penguin UK.)

"There is a very loud amusement park right in front of my present lodgings."

Pale Fire is one of the most singular and unusual novels ever published; no synopsis could hope to suggest its ingenious layers of meaning. The core of the novel is a poem of 999 lines entitled Pale Fire, by American poet John Francis Shade. Collateral to Shade's poem are a Foreword, Commentary, and Index compiled by the pompous and pedantic scholar Charles Kinbote. Kinbote, an unabashedly solipsistic émigré from Zembla, 'a distant northern land,' has a personal and distinctive interpretation of Pale Fire the poem, which makes Pale Fire the novel a comical and inventive piece of fiction and one of Nabokov's most treasured works.

"Pretending to be a curio, it cannot disguise the fact that it is one of the very great works of art of this century . . ."
Mary McCarthy

"It is like nothing on God's Earth."
Virgilia Peterson

". . . his true joy is the amassing of bits of coloured glass, strangely shaped stones, old customs, weird words. Nabokov was a skilled butterfly-collector. Pale Fire is a brilliant confection."
Anthony Burgess

Scholarly Criticism of Pale Fire:

Couturier, Maurice. "'Which is to be master' in Pale Fire"
Boyd, Brian. Response to Maurice Couturier
Boyd, Brian. "Shade and Shape in Pale Fire"
Cohen, David. "My Potential Patients: Origins, Detection, and Transference in Pale Fire and Freud's Case of the Wolf-Man"
Friedman, Jerry. "A Pale Fire Timeline"
Hornick, Neil, and Brian Boyd. An exchange on Pale Fire and The Prisoner of Zenda
Kaplan, Josh. "A Delineation of Botkin's Role in Pale Fire, & His Fate Beyond"
Monroe, William. "'Lords and Owners': Nabokov's Sequestered Imagination"
Morris, J. "Genius and Plausibility: Suspension of Disbelief in Pale Fire"
Socher, Abraham P. "Shades of Frost: A Hidden Source for Nabokov's Pale Fire"
de Vries, Gerard. "Nabokov's Pale Fire and the Romantic Movement (with special reference to the Brocken, Scott and Goethe)"
Walter, Brian. "Synthesizing Artistic Delight: The Lesson of Pale Fire"
A Bibliography of Critical Works on Pale Fire

WORKS

MARY | KING, QUEEN, KNAVE | THE DEFENSE
GLORY | LAUGHTER IN THE DARK | DESPAIR
THE GIFT | INVITATION TO A BEHEADING | THE EYE
THE ENCHANTER | THE REAL LIFE OF SEBASTIAN KNIGHT
BEND SINISTER | LOLITA | PNIN | PALE FIRE
ADA | TRANSPARENT THINGS | LOOK AT THE HARLEQUINS!
THE ORIGINAL OF LAURA


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