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Cohen 4

against the double coincidence defy computation" (260). Nabokov's sly reference

here is to a passage in Freud's

Introductovy

Lectures on Psychoanalysis, in which a

double misprint in a German newspaper of "Kronprinz" (crown prince) as

"Kornprinz" (corn prince) and then

"Knorprinz"

(protuberance prince) is used to

exemplify "parapraxes [slips] of the compositor" (15: 30-31). Since Freud's example

only works in one language, it must be explained in translation through what Kinbote

calls "one of those footnotes that are the rogue's galleries of words" (260).

Nabokov's parody here creates in miniature a tone of verbal competition with Freud,

a game of artistic one-upsmanship he carries into the novel as a whole.

In addition to such parodies and a number of baited traps for Freudians

(prominent morsels include Kinbote's primal scene-like "orgy of spying" [Shute

6441

and preoccupation with his phallic "powerful red car" [Pale Fire

191)'

Nabokov

subverts Freud by portraying Kinbote as both actively homosexual and paranoid. As

Brian Boyd mentions in his biography of Nabokov, this is the only mental

composition rendered explicitly impossible by Freudian theory, with the upshot of the

joke being that Kinbote is believable as a human possibility (American 435). Freud

argues for this causal link between repressed homosexuality and paranoid delusion in

his Psycho-Analytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia,

better known as The Case of Schreber. Upon assuming a high-ranking government

office in Saxony, Dr. Paul Schreber experienced a psychotic breakdown, spent years

in mental institutions, and finally managed to free himself from custody by writing a

lengthy account of his delusional system and its development. Freud's case history

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