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Cohen 41

post at a Scandinavian university (92-94). His sexual advances rebuffed and

subsequently mocked by the homophobic Gerald Emerald,

Botkin's

pre-existing

persecution mania is augmented by his fear of "exposure and ridicule" (93). Upon

taking

up residence in the Goldsworth house,

Botkin

is inspired by the family's

alphabet obsession, his own delusions of grandeur, and the potential to be

immortalized in verse through Shade, and then "rapidly develops a fantasy that

sublimates his past and will carry him forever into the future" (98). Realizing upon

Shade's death that "Pale Fire" has not accomplished this end, he decides to preserve

himself and his creation, Zembla, by writing a commentary. But since the edition's

publishing will reveal his true identity to the world and thus render intolerable his

paranoid terror,

Botkin

vows to commit suicide as soon as he has finished the work,

and we are to believe that he is successful (103).

Boyd furthermore identifies Niagarin and Andronnikov, the Soviet spies in

search of the Zemblan crown jewels, as characters based on "Professor Hurley" and

"Prof. C.," the English department faculty chosen by Sybil Shade to wrest control of

the manuscript from Kinbote. Shade's index cards have become for Kinbote the

"crown jewels," and their importance to his survival in art accounts for his attitude of

sneering condescension toward the Soviets' failure to find them (101-102). When

Kinbote first introduces them, Niagarin and Andronnikov are excavating a wing of

the palace gallery hung with the paintings of Eystein, who, while a poor portrait artist,

was nevertheless "a prodigious master of the trompe

l'oeil"

(130). Blending with

Nabokov, Kinbote causally mentions Eystein's practice of introducing to some of his

brilliantly mimicked textures actual pieces of the represented material:

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