Pale Fire

San Francisco: The Arion Press, 1994. Hoyem, Andrew. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Main volume, octavo, 10 7/8 by 7 inches, 288 pages. Small volume, oblong, 4 by 6 inches, 84 pages. The type for the poem and text is Fridericus, in Monotype composition. The display face is Torino. The author portrait is a silhouette printed from photopolymer plates in two colors, pale blue and pale yellow. The paper is all-cotton fiber, English mould-made Somerset. For the small volume, fifteen pale yellow lines are imprinted on every page to emulate the lines on the index cards. The bindings, done in-house, are hand-sewn, in full iridescent purple Japanese cloth inset with discs of pale gold cloth, representing the pale moon and its stolen fire, titled in gold. Both volumes are housed in a single slipcase covereed with the same pale gold cloth with a purple cloth spine label titled in gold. New. Item #CNAP043

Brian Boyd, a biographer of Vladimir Nabakov (1899-1977), wrote: "In sheer beuaty of form, 'Pale Fire' may well be the most perfect novel ever written." The book has four parts: a foreword, the poem, a commentary citing passages by line number, and an index.

One of the characters in the book suggests that readers purchase two copies of the book in order to have the poem open for ready reference to his explications in the commentary. Thus we provided in a second volume of the poem alone, printed on pages that resemble the index cards with ruled lines used by the poet (and Nabakov) while composing the poem. This, aside from a silhouette profile of the author by Hoyem as the frontispiece in the main volume, is the "illustration" for the novel.

Dmitri Nabakov, the author's son, had forbidden illustrations, but dourly admitted "credit where credit is due" when he received the two-volume set.

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Price: $3,500.00