Pale Fire

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Pale Fire (1962) is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov. The novel is presented as a poem titled "Pale Fire" by John Shade, a fictional author, with an introduction and commentary by a fictional friend of his, Charles Kinbote. Together these elements form a narrative in which both authors are central characters.



  • The heating system was a farce, depending as it did on registers in the floor wherefrom the tepid exhalations of a throbbing and groaning basement furnace were transmitted to the rooms with the faintness of a moribund's last breath.

Pale Fire[edit]

  • I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
    by the false azure in the windowpane;
  • No free man needs a God; but was I free?
  • What moment in that gradual decay
Does resurrection choose? What year? What day?
Who has the stopwatch? Who rewinds the tape?
Are some less lucky, or do all escape?
A syllogism: other men die; but I
Am not another: therefore I'll not die.
  • For we die every day; oblivion thrives
Not on dry thighbones but on blood-ripe lives,
And our best yesterdays are now foul piles
Of crumpled names, phone numbers and foxed files.


  • Solitude is the playfield of Satan.
  • "You have hal..... real bad, chum."
  • "What!" cried Bretwit in candid surprise, "They know at home that His Majesty has left Zembla?"
  • We can at last describe his tie, an Easter gift from a dressy butcher, his brother in law in Onhava: imitation silk, colour chocolate brown barred with red, the end tucked into the shirt between the second and third buttons - a Zemblan fashion of the ninteen thirties.
  • This brand of paper (used by macaroon makers) was not only digestible but delicious.
  • "I certainly do speak Russian. You see, it was the fashionable language par excellence, much more than French, among the nobles of Zembla at least."

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