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My Potential Patients: Origins, Detection, and Transference in - page 35 / 69

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Cohen 32

information than as illness. The Case of the Wolf-Man, as Peter Brooks says of

narrative in general, exists "in a state of repetition, as a going over again of a ground

already covered: a

sjufet

repeating thefabula, as the detective retraces the tracks of

the criminal" (97).

111.

Brooks could have as easily been

speaking

about Pale Fire. Compelled by the

strange parallels

betweens

Shade's poem and

Kinbote's

commentary, literary

detectives have b

een

tracking

down the "real" perpetrator of the text for over four

decades. Nabokov biographer Brian Boyd notes that critics questioning the novel's

fictional origins have fallen into one of three camps: (1) Shade wrote the novel,

inventing Kinbote; (2) Kinbote wrote the novel, inventing Shade; and (3) Nabokov

made the novel's internal authorship inherently unresolvable. A fourth group

claiming the majority of scholars and non-professional readers finds the issue itself

absurd (111-14). In Pale Fire: The Magic of Artistic Discovery

(1999),

Boyd recants

the Shade authorship hypothesis he originally offered in his 1991 biography,

proposing a supernatural "solution" that explains the text and accounts for its

puzzling details. Rather than examining Pale Fire in isolation, it will be useful for us

to see how Boyd, a self-consciously Nabokovian reader, contends with the novel. As

part of this discussion, I will be examining Boyd's book in terms of Shoshana

Felman's groundbreaking essay, "Turning the Screw of Interpretation"

(1977),

a

Lacanian reading of critical response to Henry

James'

novella.

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