Study Guide

Literary Precedents for Pale Fire

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Pale Fire is extraordinarily difficult to classify and even harder to compare to other works of literature. It is perhaps Nabokov's most original novel in terms of form and structure, though in its underlying concern with creation and the literary process it is part of a tradition which goes back to Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy (1759-1767). It has also been compared to the works of Jorge Luis Borges in its self-conscious artifice and its play with reality and illusion, and to the novels of John Barth, Thomas Pynchon, and Donald Barthelme in its experimentation with novelistic form and structure. However, its closest relative is perhaps Nabokov's own translation of Eugene Onegin, completed before but published after Pale fire, in which his commentary and index to Pushkin's poem (which occupies more than half of the edition's four volumes) is itself a highly creative work.

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This section contains 143 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Pale Fire Study Guide
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