Given the ludic vitality of Kinbote’s portions of the book, it is not surprising that Shade’s subtle, meticulously wrought poem should have received short shrift. Most readers tend to think of the poem as the grace that must be perfunctorily said before we sit down to the meal of the commentary. It is this imbalance that a new edition of “Pale Fire” seeks to redress. In a move that is likely to irritate and scandalize many, Gingko Press has lifted Shade’s poem from Nabokov’s novel and published it as a separate book.
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