Thursday, November 05, 2009
Even weirder than I remember
I believe I last taught Pale Fire in 1993. Between that time and this, some enterprising and whimsical editor has apparently added these two passages to the novel, on pages 138 and 139:
Several trails cross the mountains at various points and lead to passes none of which exceeds an altitude of five thousand feet; a few peaks rise some two thousand feet higher and retain their snow in midsummer; and from one of them, the highest and hardest, Mt. Glitterntin, one can distinguish on clear days, far out to the east, beyond the Gulf of Surprise, a dim iridescence which some say is Russia. (138)
It was decided to part, Charlie proceeding through the remote treasure in the sea cave, and Odon remaining behind as a decoy. He would, he said, lead them a merry chase, assume sensational disguises, and get into touch with the rest of the gang. His mother was an American, from New Wye in New England. She is said to have been the first woman in the world to shoot wolves, and, I believe, other animals, from an airplane. (139)
I have checked the text repeatedly with my special Confidence-Man® brand Counterfeit Detector, and there is no question that these passages did not exist in 1993, and that the kerning techniques used to interpolate these passages were not available on the IBM Selectric I or II in 1962, no matter what Mad Men might lead you to believe. So I have to imagine that someone in the production department at Vintage International has gone rogue.
OK, I’ll be in DC for the next few days. Don’t try to look me up if you’re in the area—I’ll be in a windowless room all Friday and Saturday, doing Important Committee Work, leaving Saturday night.
Oh, and I believe I said Yanks in 6, did I not? And now the Bush Curse—from back when Dubya’s first-pitch and Ghouliani’s post-9/11 press conferences doomed us to eight long years in the wilderness—has finally been lifted. Praise merciful Moloch!
Sure, you haters can say that rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for Goldman Sachs. But you might want to stop and think why the Yankees prospered under Clinton and Carter but were utterly stymied throughout the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II eras.