much to events as to other tales, to man as a structure of the fictions he tells about
himself' (277). While the manuscript of The Wolf-Man depicts on "the two-
dimensional descriptive plane" (214) a causal web bounded within the sphere of a
single person, Freud's textual additions threaten to endlessly defer the moment of
origin and the limits of explanatory possibility.
It is tempting to keep going in this way, to construct visual models of The
and Pale Fire, described in geometric
and accompanied by
meticulously drawn figures. For example, one could argue that since Nabokov's
artistic web is oriented temporally and Freud's psychological web is oriented
thematically, their essential armature is shown to be the same if rotated, say, ninety
degrees. Armed with enough contemporary literary criticism on Freud, one could
torture the sweeping, aggressive rhetoric of The Wolf-Man into one of Nabokov's
aestheticized, subjective worlds. Or mobilizing enough of Freud's rhetorical
reversals and Pale Fire's
crystals, doubles, and palindromes, one could
undermine the very real differences between Freud's unconscious-dwelling
repressions and Nabokov's deistic, ambivalent chessmasters. In short, one could
continue abstracting from Freud and Nabokov until each looks like the mirror image
of the other and their uniqueness has been completely effaced.
This impulse to draw, model, and encapsulate is profoundly paranoid, but not
inappropriate. It is Freud who urges us to combine the puzzle pieces of The
Man and the Wolf-Man's neurosis "together into a living whole"
hopes his detailed map of the Onhava palace will be reproduced "in later editions"
(107) of Pale Fire, and Nabokov who forces his students away from an allegorical