Three Allusions in Pale Fire

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2007


In his note to line 603, Kinbote directs us to two lines from “a recent poem by Edsel Ford” (PF 234). Many readers of Pale Fire have taken the reference as a mistake by Kinbote and/or a joke by Nabokov. Warren F. Motte, for example, cites the reference to Ford as proof of Kinbote’s “foul taste in poetry and his massive ignorance of the literary tradition”(Playtexts: Ludics in Contemporary Literature, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995,79). Such a critique would make sense if Kinbote was indeed referencing the former head of Ford Motor Company and namesake of an infamous make of automobile in the late fifties. The Edsel Ford appearing in Kinbote’s note, however, is not the carmaker, and the two lines quoted in the note were actually written by Ford


Originally published as:

“Three Allusions in Pale Fire.” The Nabokovian 58 (Spring 2007): 53-60.