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Stalking Nabokov$
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Brian Boyd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158572

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158572.001.0001

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“Pale Fire”: Poem and Pattern

“Pale Fire”: Poem and Pattern

Chapter:
(p.336) 24. “Pale Fire”: Poem and Pattern
Source:
Stalking Nabokov
Author(s):

Brain Boyd

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231158572.003.0024

This chapter offers a reading of John Shade's poem “Pale Fire,” which is part of Vladimir Nabokov's novel Pale Fire. It examines why “Pale Fire” has received so little attention as a poem and why it has even interpreted as intentionally poor poetry. It argues that “Pale Fire” is easy to understand but hard to exhaust: its patterns continue to proliferate. And that not only bears out Shade's “not text, but texture,” his search for “correlated pattern,” but links his art with so much else in life and mind. The pattern folded on pattern that we call metaphor aids our imaginations both inside and outside poetry, even as poetry has its own exclusive patterns, tied to the poetic line and the concentrated attention the line allows.

Keywords:   poem, Vladimir Nabokov, novel, Pale Fire, poetry, patterns, art, life, metaphor

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