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My Potential Patients: Origins, Detection, and Transference in - page 14 / 69

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Cohen 11

Lilte Freud, Kinbote is harried by an opposition bent on debunking his reading

as a self-motivated fantasy.

Foreword reads like a parody of Freud's fifth

HIS

chapter, offering a set of rhetorical formulations designed to render unassailable even

the most ludicrously tangential connections he will make in the Commentary between

his narrative and Shade's poem. Once he has accomplished justifying the publication

of a critical edition by asserting against the Shadeans that the poem is essentially

complete, Kinbote mentions the existence of the so-called "variants" purportedly

edited out by a jealous "Mrs. S." (Sybil Shade), most of which, we later

learn,

are

comically poor forgeries explicitly alluding to Zembla and Charles

11.

"In a sense,

many of them are more valuable artistically and historically7'-valuable to Kinbote,

that is-"than some of the best passages in the final text" (16).

"I must now," he thinlts aloud, "explain how Pale Fire came to be edited by

me" (16). Here and elsewhere in the Foreword,

Kinbote's

account makes amusing

use of circular argument and unprovable assertion: his friendship with Shade "was

the more precious for its tenderness being concealed"

(25)'

existing "on that higher,

exclusively intellectual level where one can rest from emotional troubles, not share

them" (27); Shade "intended to ask my advice after reading his poem to me as a I

know he planned to do" (16); and "naturally," Sybil Shade's request that Kinbote

"accept Prof. H. (!) and Prof. C. (!!) as co-editors" "precluded collaboration with my

friend's misguided widow" (18). (Prof. C. receives the extra exclamation point, we

later gather, for teaching Freud in his English classes

[271].)

Regarding his

questionable acquisition of the manuscript, Kinbote moreover

"def[ies]

any serious

critic to find this contract unfair," and claims the unrevised final fifty lines of the

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