Nabokov and the Joycean Momentum What have you learned from Joyce? Nothing. (Vladimir Nabokov, Strong Opinions)
James Joyce and Vladimir Nabokov meta few times while Joyce was living in Paris in the late thirties. He was fascinated by Joyce’s sagaciousness and strong personality. On his part, the Irish writer empathized with this young Russian artist to the point of helping him in a diffìcult moment of his career.1 Nabokov’s admiration for Ulysses is widely documented as well as his rejection of most of the rest of the Joycean production. Por instance he defines A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man “a feeble and garrulous book” (Nabokov 1990, 71), and while he never commented on Dubliners 2 he left his most caustic remark to Joyce’s last novel Finnegans Wake. He declared to detest the Wake as he considered it “one of the greatest failures in literature” (Nabokov 1980, 342), in which “a cancerous growth of fancy word-tissue hardly redeems the dreadful joviality of the folklore and the easy, too easy, allegory” (Nabokov 1990, 102). Yet, despite his dismissive and boastful comments on the author of Ulysses – ‘James Joyce has not influenced me in any manner whatsoever” (Nabokov 1990, 102) – to Nabokov Joyce remains an inescapable reference point both in terms of style and narrative devices. In this essay I consider the kind of influence Joyce exerted on Nabokov with particular reference to his major works Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. The fìrst part provides some examples of the impact of Ulysses on Nabokov’s novel The Eye (Soglyadatai, 1930) – which was published when he was in Europe3 while the second part focuses on the possible analogies between Finnegans Wake and Pale Pire (1962), and in particular on the way both Nabokov and Joyce create for their characters a specific idiolect and linguistic universe of its own. As a result such a comparison discloses a series of interconnections that go well beyond the mere concept of influence. In other words, although it may be true that when Nabokov begins to study Joyce systematically he is “definitely formed and immune to any literary influence” (Nabokov 1990, 71), it is quite apparent thatJoyce’s “noble originality and unique lucidity of thought and style” (Nabokov 1990, 71) cannot be so easily dismissed. Indeed Joyce surfaces in Nabokov’s narratives as a sort of textual reverberation from a sophisticated interplay ofliterary as well as cultural references. The way Nabokov concocts and organizes his textual materiai has been often considered as “postmodern”.4 For instance the self-reflexive treatment of the author reader relation, the use of an unreliable narrator, the textual fragmentation, and the recourse to different planes of reality, which are typical of postmodern narratives, might be associated to Nabokov’s style. By contrast, I argue, that his response to Joyce’s peculiar style can be investigated and interpreted within a modernist context, whereby modernism, or better in this particular case Joyce’s modernism, becomes a turning point for his own writing. AsJohn Burt Forster Jr. has observed when Nabokov self-consciously assembles a context for his writing, modernist culture itself enters his works as something that he directly emulates, amplifies or attacks. (Forster 1993,xii) It is precisely in such self-conscious emulation, amplification and attacks towards Joyce’s own modernist style that the Nabokov-Joyce controversial relation articulates itself. Joycean Echoes in The Eye The Eye marks a crucial passage in Nabokov’s style. This “little novel”, as he defines it in the “Foreward” to the English edition (1965), translated by his son Dmitri and supervised by himself, presents a crucial technical achievement: it inaugurates Nabokov’s employment of the first person narrator. Obviously such a stylistic choice has important repercussions on the story itself. For example it dramatically complicates the narrator’s point of view: the plot is in fact based on the possibility that the narrational ”I”, who guides the reader through the story, and the ineffable Smurov are the same person. Hence, on the one hand, the story is presented from a claustrophobic and inescapable point of view – the ”I'”s – and on the other, this “I” appears utterly unreliable, which leads the reader to believe that the voice belongs to a probably delusional, if not completely mad, character. Moreover this “I”, as the unique narrative voice, comes from a disembodied consciousness: it is in fact the result of a residuai psychic energy (Barton Johnson 1995, 131), as a consequence of the protagonist’s supposed suicide. The emphasis on the character’s conscience, the uncensored penetration ofhis/her most intimate thoughts – which is a hallmark of modernism – here becomes the very substance of the story. Even the title suggests a similar interpretation. In fact, in the English edition of the novel Nabokov chose to transiate the Russian title Soglyadatai, which literally means “the spy” or “the reconnoiterer”, with The Eye, playing with the homophony between the pronoun “I” and the substantive eye. Such a connection between the two lays particular emphasis on the story’s point of view. The eye in fact symbolically represents a passageway into the dimension of consciousness. When the eye conflates into the ”I” the story becomes an infinite myse en abyme of the subject (as the speaking voice) and of his multiple refractions. It is precisely through this eye/”I”, through this particular point of view, that the reader enters the character’s consciousness. However such overlapping, rather than clarifying the nature of the events narrated and their plausibility, complicates things even further. Indeed, despite Nabokov’s declaration in the “Foreward” that “the author disclaims ali intentions to trick, puzzle, fool, or otherwise deceive the reader”, it becomes immediately clear that The Eye resists interpretation. Even if the reader, as expected by the author, easily detects the relationship between the narrational ”I” and Smurov, the story maintains its intricacies, because “the stress is not on the mystery but on the pattern”: for theirs is not a one-to-one connection but a one-to-many. Notably at the very end of the novel the reader comes to know that: I [the narrational “I”] do not exist: there exist but the thousands of mirrors that reflect me. With every acquaintance I make, the population of phantoms resembling me increases.Somewhere they multiply, I alone do not exist. Smurov, however, will live on fora long time. (Nabokov 1965, 103) Paradoxically the narrational “I” can exist only through its own multiplications, through the infinite series of disembodied images that it perceives both as “a projection of’ and “other from” itself. Although not perfectly superimposable, these phantoms “resemble” each other just enough as to make the reader question Smurov’s “real”identity. In this regard the etyrnology of “resemble” can be helpful. Resemble comes from the middle English resemblen, “to appear”, which derives from the Latin simulare, “to imitate” (Online Etymology Dictionary). The kind of relationship between the narrational ‘T’ and Smurov is indeed based on imitation and simulation. The narrational “I” is never completely superimposable to a particular reflection, rather it needs a virtually infinite number of reflections to continue to exist. Therefore Smurov must remain ineffable and undefined, because he subsumes in himself all of these existential possibilities: unlike the ‘T’ he “will live on fora long time” (Nabokov 1965, 103). In the polyphonic interplay of the multiple narrative voices of Pale Pire one can find a similar provocative closure, when at the very end of the novel Kinbote, reflecting on Gradus’ untraceability declares: But whatever happens, whatever the scene is laid, somebody, somewhere, will quietly set out – somebody has already set out, somebody still rather faraway is buying a ticket, is boarding a bus, a ship, a plane has landed, is walking towards a million of photographers, and presently he will ring at my door – a bigger, more respectable, more competent Gradus. (301) Likewise the closing paragraph of Pale Pire presents a vertiginous multiplication of narrative subjects, of Gradus-like identities, all ready to accomplish their murderous intent. In Kinbote’s ravenous and paranoid presumptions, Gradus is not even identifiable with a single individuai; on the contrary he randomly proliferates in different places at different times. Adding another meaning to his very name, in such a continuai regeneration – which like in The Eye “increases the population of phantoms” resembling himself – he gradually becomes more and more “respectable” and “competent” for his task. From a stylistic perspective, Nabokov effaces the presence of the narrative voice – and consequently of the traditional well-defined point of view – in favour of a multiplicity of refracted and fragmentary voices. Therefore he dramatically complicates the role and function of the narrator, whose (individuai) voice turns into a polyphony of silent voices within a network of stories to be told and re-told, disrupting the world that has been depicted, and making it multilevel. Certainly the textual aspects I have focused on can only in part convey the impact of The Eye on Nabokov’s future works. Nonetheless I consider them instrumental in discussing the kind of influence Joyce has exerted on Nabokov’s style in such a crucial moment of his production. Hence the choice of identifying the narrator with a disembodied consciousness that “pulsate[s] and create[s] images”, (Nabokov 1965, 21), as well as the shift from a singular to a multiple point of view, and finally the peculiar author-reader relationship, which such narrative devices imply, are all elements that can be traced back to Ulysses. Despite Nabokov’s peremptory declarations aboutthe non influence ofJoyce’s writing on his own style, the kind of technical achievements presented in The Eye is reminiscent of the pioneering experimentations of Ulysses. Even the pun in the title is somehow anticipated inJoyce’s text, when in the “Ithaca” chapter, to the question “What did the first drawer unlocked contain?” the impersona! narrator answers: an infantile epistle, dated, small em monday, reading: capitai pee Papli comma capitai aitch How are you note of interrogation capital eye I am very well full stop new paragraph signature with flourishes capitai em Milly no stop. Qoyce 1993, 17.1791-94, my italies) Milly’s infantile epistle to her father, written as if it were a dictation exercise, contains a series of words, whose first letters are transcribed as following a teacher’s suggestion to spell them correctly. Hence Milly writes “em” for Monday, “pee” for Papli, and, remarkably, “capita! eye” for the pronoun I, reproducing the same pun of Nabokov’s title, with practically the same ontologica! implications. In both cases, this particular pun invites a reflection between the objective and subjective point of view. As for Joyce, the ”I”/eye in the letter5 subsumes the interplay between a completely objective narration – represented by the sdentific gaze (eye) through which each object, piece of furniture and event is duly catalogued and recounted 6 – and the characters’ subjectivity that ineluctably surfaces in the text, undermining the certainty of a “neutral” narration. Because in Milly’s letter punctuation is translated into words, it contributes to the semantics of the text, revealing once again the artificiality of writing as well as its deceptive nature. Whatever the point of view,Joyce’s text denies the reader any form of totalizing hermeneutics. Accordingly, Milly’s letter articulates itself between the conclusive “I am very well full stop” and the incondusive “new paragraph signature with flourishes capitai em Milly no stop”. Hence the letter remains suspended between a “full stop” and a “no stop”, between meaning and its deferral. One is reminded of Jacques Derrida’s last statement in his well-known essay “Signature Event Context”: as a disseminating operation separated from presence (of Being) according to all its modifications, writing, if there is any, perhaps communicates, but does not ex:ist, surely. Or barely, hereby, in the form of the most improbable signature. (Derrida 1982,329)Provocatively Derrida closes his essay with his own signature followed by a full stop. By contrast, Joyce leaves the letter incomplete because there can be no reconciliation between the I/eye, between the outer gaze and the subjective perspective of reality. The ”I” loses himself/herself in the eye, the points of vìew clash. At the same time the reader is invìted to enter and escape narration, to see the events from the inside, from the character’s mind, and to abandon them, in favour of a more detached point of vìew. The private writing between a daughter and her father is presented as a specimen of a writing exercise. Her emotions are objectifìed and translated into barely meaningful alphabetical signs described by the narrator’s inquisitive gaze. The reader is on the threshold between the “I” and the eye, forced to unravel an impossible double bind, which does not admit any solutions. The more the reader tries to overcome the gap between the “I” and the eye the more the text loses its coherence and sense. Likewise, in Nabokov’s novel the reader is fìrst led to follow the “I”, to enter his mind and see everything from his own point of vìew. Then, the “I” turns into the eye, a disembodied gaze deprived of any identifìable subjectivìty, which through a series of textual mirrors, reflects reality in what apparently seems an objective way. As the story goes on, the fracture between the ”I”Ieye becomes deeper and deeper because, in a sort of meiotic recombination, the “I”/Smurov divìdes and replicates himself into an infinite number of other subjectivìties ready to take his place. Once again the reader is invìted to unravel this double bind, to reconcile the “I” with the eye, and once again such an unravelling proves to be impossible. Nabokov’s story inscribes itself precisely in the fissure produced by the semantic slip between the “I”/eye, stemming and growing from it. Analogously to Milly’s letter, The Eye presents no closure and the reader is left with Smurov’s address to some”cruel, smug people … “, who doubt about his final epiphany: the only happiness in this world is to observe, to spy, to watch, to scrutinize oneself and others, to be nothing but a big, slightly vìtreous, somewhat bloodshot, unblinking eye. (I 03) It is not difficult to recognize in those “suspicious people” the reader(s), who is/are invìted to share in the voyeuristic pleasure of the gaze all its possible articulations.7 The gaze here functions as a subtle scrutiny of the events from a distance. After all, according to Nabokov, the reader’s task is first and foremost to disclose and admire the wonder of the author’s creation. BothJoyce and Nabokov deny the reader a reassuring “full stop”, ironically longed for by Derrida, and leave their novels in tension, as if they were a textual machine ready to generate new stories. Here the ellipsis at the “end” of 7 “Observe”, “spy”, “watch” and “scrutinize” are only an example of the conspicuous use of verbs related to sight in the novel. The Eye and the “no stop” at the end ofMilly’s letter aim to produce a continuai textual parthenogenesis, which is crucial to both Joyce’s and Nabokov’s writing. lncoherent Transactions: Finnigan’s Wake8 Nabokov refers to Pinnegans Wake as “a formless and dull mass of phony folklore, a cold pudding of a book, a persistent snore in the next room, most aggravating to the insomniac I am” (Nabokov 1990, 71). Hence, it will not come as a surprise that in response to Alfred Appel’s question about a textual convergence between Pinnegans Wake and Pale Pire,9 he answered quite peremptorily that Joyce’s last novel “has no inner connection with Pale Pire” (Nabokov 1990; 74). Such a firm judgment might discourage one from speculating about a dialogic tension between Pinnegans Wake and Pale Pire. Yet, I do not think that this issue can be so easily dismissed. After all, Nabokov truly believedJoyce to be a genius: 10 for him the Irish writer’s works were a challenge as well as a significant source of inspiration. In Pale Pire, for instance, this is particularly apparent in Nabokov’s treatment of Kinbote’s commentary, which from both a narrative and a linguistic point of view can be associated to the beguiling narratives of the Wake. Indeed, rather than being a formai criticai apparatus, 11 as one would expect it to be, Kinbote’s commentary is a formidable work of imagination which parasitically draws life from the dissected main text, whose broken sentences and words are recyded for a different narrative. Even the title is reversed and anatomized in Kinbote’ s coercive appropriation of “Pale Fire”, reappearing above the textual surface as “wavelets of fire” and “pale and phosphorescent hints” (297). Thus, Kinbote’s contribution turns into a whirlpool of “contrapuntal” translations of images and echoes, partly belonging to his own existential experience and partly to Shade’s. It is remarkable that, precisely during this activity of sorting out the threads of his rhizomatic web of (non)sense, Kinbote should recall to his mindJoyce’s last novel: Of course it would be unseemingly for a monarch to appear in the robes oflearning at a university lectern and present to rosy youths Finnigan’s Wake [sic] as a monstrous extension of Angus MacDiarmid’ s “incoherent transactions” and of Southey’s LingoGrande (“Dear Stumparumper”, etc). (Nabokov 1962, 76) The passage refers to King Charles’ passion for literature. Disguised in his physical appearance and under false identity (according to Kinbote, it would be inconvenient for a King to work at a university), he becomes an esteemed professor who lectures on Finnegans Wake.12 Here, Joyce’s novel is related to Angus MacDiarmid, a champion of Scottish folklore and culture, author of A Description of the Beauties of Edinample and Lochearnhead (1815) written in a somewhat broken and clumsy English, and to the romantic poet Robert Southey, in this case mentioned more for his love of riddles, puns and nursery rhymes than for his poems. Unequivocally, Nabokov aims to emphasize the extreme linguistic experimentation and parody offered by these authors. In a single annotation, he conflates Joyce, MacDiarmid and Southey as the ultimate paradigm of linguistic nonsense and distortion. As for Angus MacDiarmid, Nabokov seems to referto the Scottish antiquary and journalist Robert Scott Fittis who, in Sports and Pastimes of Scotland Historically Illustrated, describes him as follows: He appears to have acquired just sufficient knowledge of the English language to enable him to use an English dictionary, from the study of which his untutored mind formed an extraordinary style of compositìon. The Description was reprinted at Aberfeldy in 1841, and again in 1876, and is altogether unique as the production of an untaught Highlander striving to express his thoughts in literary English. A copy of the first edition apparently fell into the hands of Robert Southey, who quoted and laughed over one of its queer phrases “men of incoherent transactions”. (47) As a humorous and witty intellectual, Robert Southey was amused by MacDiarmid’s “queer language” which evoked his word-games and jokes. In particular, Kinbote’s allusion to the “Lingo Grande” refers to a sort oflinguistic game played between Robert and his sister-in-law, Sarah Fricker, the wife of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Sarah had invented a language, “Lingo Grande”, as her family called it, which she spoke with her friends and children. According to Molly Lefebure, “the fullest surviving account which we have of this language occurs in a letter from Southey to [his friend] GrosvenorBedford dated 14 September 1821” (Lefebure 1985, 82). The letter begìns with “Dear Stumparumper”, which is how Mrs. Coleridge addressed Bedford in her language. Moreover, from 1814, Southey “began working on a book which he at first was tentatively calling ‘Dr Dove’ and ultimately was to publish as The Doctor, a tome of seven volumes, comprising collections of mottoes, anecdotes, fairy tales, nursery tales, socia! history, gossip, folklore and ballads, punning and play with words, attempts at serious etymology and essays on every subject under the sun” (Lefebure 1985, 80). Southey’s work can be inscribed onto the literary tradition (inaugurated by Lawrence Sterne13 and later developed by Lewis Carroll) devoted to systematically undermining narration in its deepest structure and seriously putting into question the effectiveness of linguistic communication. In other words, Nabokov associates Finnegans Wake with two main literary traditions: “nonsense” and “regional literature”. In this regard, both MacDiarmid’s and Southey’s stylistic devices might be considered to be excellent precursors of those employed by Joyce in the novel. Hence, it will not come as a surprise that Kinbote describes the Wake as a “monstrous extension” of MacDiarmid’s and Southey’s works. Nabokov is mocking what he believed was the tota! nonsense ofJoyce’s language as well as the audacity of his style in Finnegans Wake. As for MacDiarmid, in his genuine ignorance of the English language, he rendered his thoughts in an approximate prose form, including semantic slips, misquotations and decontextualized translations from Scottish. Such a peculiar use of language can be compared with Joyce’s provocative attempts to show the unpredictable mechanisms of linguistic communication. Analogously, Southey’s intentional deconstruction oflanguage and grandiose project of The Doctor seem to anticipate the Wake. In his intention of producing an omni comprehensive text that ranges from serious to humorous and encompasses all literary genres, Southey is creating a precedent for Joyce’s novel. However, whereas the romantic poet needs six volumes to accomplish his project, Joyce encapsulates the wor(l)d in 628 pages. Priscilla Meyer considers the reference to MacDiarmid a parody of the Scottish poet, James MacPherson. MacDiarmid was trying to establish a cultura! and national tradition for Scotland just as Macpherson, in his eighteenth century forgery, was trying to affirm a specific literary and epic inheritance through the mysterious discovery of the ancient bard, Ossian. Here Nabokov’s description of the Wake as “a dull mass of phony folklore” or as “regional literature full of quaint old-timers and imìtated pronunciation” (Nabokov 1990, 71) might be useful. Similarly to MacPherson, Joyce is (re)creating a national epic, intentionally forging a tradition that does not exist. From this perspective, the Wake becomes for Kinbote the highest example ofliterary deceit, a model reference to make Zembla more tangible. Indeed, to turn his imaginary land into a real piace, Kinbote needs to endow it with a national history, a culture and, of course, a language. Consequently, the very essence of his library is its Zemblan translations of the major achievements of western culture, Finnegans Wake included. It is as if the books in the library were a draft copy of the originai, a plagiarized and manipulated collection of the ideas that have contributed to the advancement of human knowledge. In this infinite catalogue, the Wake, with its overt plagiaristic nature, embodies the ultimate parody of this calculated forgery. The annotations and comments of Prof.Jones to the Tiberiast Duplex as a comic counterpart of The Book of Kells (from which the letter-mamafesta seems to derive), are a further extension of MacPherson’s cooked up annotations to Ossian’s Son ofFingal, echoed by Joyce in the very title of his novel. Finally, the context in which Kinbote mentions Finnegans Wake deserves some attention. He lingers on a digression in the note to “crystal land” in line 12. In his reading, this expression might be an allusion to his “beloved Zembla”. His painful exiled condition often leads him to misinterpret Shade’s words as encrypted signs of his country. Thus, he argues that in the passage he is commenting on, the main subjects are exile and nostalgia. Recalling Joyce in this context is more than appropriate. Like Kinbote and, of course, Nabokov, he chose to leave his motherland and never return. Despite this drastic decision, we know that Joyce wrote only about Ireland and Dublin. As a matter of fact, Kinbote’s pathological contextomy 14 and distorted interpretati on turn Zembla into the center of Shade’s poetica! discourse. 15 One cannot help but compare King Charles/Kinbote’s lectures with Nabokov’s. During his stay in America, Nabokov taught at Stanford University, Wellesley College, Harvard and Cornell. Posthumously his lecture notes on European and Russian literature were published under the titles Lectures on Literature (1980) and Lectures on Russian Literature ( 1981). In his famous course on the Masterpieces of European Fiction (Literature 311-12 delivered in 1954 at Cornell University), a prominent place was given to Ulysses, which Nabokov considered one of the greatest achievements of the twentieth century. It is quite ironie that Nabokov’s fictional counterpart, King Charles/Kinbote, does not teach Ulysses but, rather, Finnegans Wake, as if the latter were more appropriate to a professor, who manifests signs of mental disorder. Undoubtedly, the compelling linguistic experimentations of HCE’s Wakease prefigure both Kinbote’s dense Zemblan “heteroglossia and multi-languagedness” (Bakhtin 1981, 274) with its polysemic blending of Russian, English and other languages; as well as Hazel’s peculiar use of “mirror words” or “twisted words” – as Shade would have it. For instance, in his comment to line 109 of “Pale Fire”, .Kinbote states that Shade’s word “iridule” means “an iridiscent doudlet, Zemblan muderperlwelk” . .Kinbote’s Zemblan analogue is a compound word in which there are allusions to English, Russian and German (just to mention the most apparent languages). Indeed, “muderperlwelk” echoes the English expression, “mother of pearl welk” (“welk” being a particular kind of mollusk or shell), the Russian “perlmutr”, and the German “perlmutter”. Moreover, “welk” in German brings to mind both “welken”, which means “withered” and “wolke”, which means “cloud”. Each of these references contributes both to the articulation of meaning and to the emergence of a différance between Shade’s line and .Kinbote’s Zemblan version. The effect of the endless deferral of meaning, in the passage from one language to another, is even more dramatically intensified by .Kinbote’s attitude towards Shade’s text. Like a virus, he creeps into the cracks of translation and the clefts oflanguage to deconstruct Shade’s poetic imaginaire and substitutes it with his own. The result is the kind of undecidable tension and infinite play of allusions that characterize the language of Finnegans Wake. The analysis of the compound word “muttheringpot” (20.7) can serve both as an example of such a practice and as a meta-reflection on the use oflanguages in the Wake. Joyce employs this expression in the context devoted to cooking and communication. In this case, the very act of speaking/writing is analogous to the preparation of a dish. “Mutther” refers to German “Mutter”, which means both “type mould” and “mother”. It is women, and in particular mothers, who are traditionally associated with food and cooking, as it is to a feminine sphere that the notion of “native language” is metonymically referred in the expressions, “mother language” or “mother tongue”. Furthermore, “muttheringpot” echoes the English “melting pot”, “muttering” and “murmuring” as if communication were a long, continuous indistinct sound ofblending languages, like the bubbling of a pot on the stove, a hidden message which becomes meaningful only if properly “cooked”. It is a perspective that polyglot Nabokov seems to put into practice quite literally. As for Hazel’s private idiolect, again Finnegans Wake is a point of reference. Wordplays like “top” for “pot” or “redips” for “spider” could be easily added to the Wakean linguistic repertoire. Certainly Joyce’s novel presents an abundant use of mirror words and rnetathesis. The acronyms used by the author to refer to his characters, ALP (Anna Livia Plurabelle) and HCE (Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker), are often written in reverse. 16 For example the fìrst three letters of the term “echoland” (13.5) correspond to the initials HCE in reverse order, thus, “echo-land” can be also read as “HCE’s land”, i.e. Ireland. Sometimes Joyce uses palindromes (which are a particular kind of mirror words) as in the following question: “And shall not Babel be with Lebab?” (258.11-12). Indeed not only is “Lebab” the reverse of “Babel” but it is also “a palindrome incorporating the Hebrew word for ‘heart’ (lebhabh), as well as a derivative of the lrish word leabhar, meaning ‘book”‘ (Armand 200 l). It follows that for Joyce, mirror words represent a formidable instrument for increasing the novel’s semantic density. In Nabokov, they are a repetition on a smaller scale of the novel’s main pattern which consists of an infinite play of reflections, reverse images and (a)symmetrical juxtapositions. After all, “Pale Pire” opens with the image of”a wax:wing slain/by the false azure in the windowpane” (33). To conclude, in such a complex hypersemiotic reference system, meaning is turned into the most visible effect of an “ongoing dynamism”. 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