An aspect of Nabokov's Pale fire : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts in English at Massey University

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Massey University
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Pale Fire is a novel that is put together in the reader's mind from the material supplied by Nabokov. The reader is presented with four complex blocks of material - two large ones (a 999-line poem by John Shade, and what proclaims itself to be a critical commentary on that poem by Charles Kinbote), and two lesser ones (a foreword and an index, both by Kinbote). The four parts can be fitted together in a number of ways, and the pattern that emerges will depend on the way the reader chooses to relate them. Every reader of the book must attempt the game; but though it is easy to recognise defeat, to become frustrated because the pieces will not fit themselves into a coherent whole, it is impossible to feel confidently triumphant when one achieves a solution for there is no guarantee that the pattern that any reader manages to create is the one that Vladimir Nabokov had in mind when he created the book.
Nabokov, Vladimir Vladimirovich, 1899-1977. Pale fire