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My Potential Patients: Origins, Detection, and Transference in - page 45 / 69





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Cohen 42

This device which was apparently meant to enhance the effect of his tactile

and tonal values had, however, something ignoble about it and disclosed not

only an essential flaw in Eystein's talent, but the basic fact that 'reality' is

neither the subject nor the object of true art which creates its own special

reality having nothing to do with the average 'reality' perceived by the

communal eye. (130)

Is there an implication, then, for a reading that seeks the "average 'reality'" behind

Kinbote's "own special reality"? While Niagarin and Andronnikov expect to find the

crown jewels within an actual bronze box lodged in the portrait of "former Keeper of

the Treasure, decrepit Count Kernel"


Kinbote dispels our excitement by

showing us its disappointing contents, promising that "we can anticipate a little and

assure the reader that the receptacle, an oblong hole in the wall, was there all right; it

contained nothing, however, except the broken bits of a nutshell" (131). For Niagarin

and Andronnikov, pulling "the answer out of its hiding place" yields only the husk of

the desired object. Its artful signifier, by contrast, is more interesting by far, "the

beautifully executed, twin-lobed, brainlike, halved kernel of a walnut" (130). The

search continues in the Index, where Kinbote leads us from "Crown Jewels" (306) to

"Hiding Place" (307) to


(312) to


(314)-Russian for "secret

place7'-and back again in a loop, satirizing the reader's attempt to find the kernel,

the essence, where Niagarin and Andronnikov have failed. To search


mindedly for


beneath Kinbote, the "real" story of Pale Fire beneath the

imagined one, thefabula under the


is suggested as misguided, foolish, and

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