Nabokov’s ‘Pale Fire’ Is ‘The Great Gay Comic Novel’, Argues Edmund White

“[The character] Kinbote’s mad ‘notes’, far from commenting on Shade’’ poem, trace out a mini-biog¬raphy of Kinbote. And that biography, real or delusional, is the picture of an unrepentant homosexual, sensual, guilt-free, tirelessly on the make. In the 1950s, gay men were portrayed in fiction and films as lonely phantoms – sad and colourless – or sometimes as instant villains (see Norman Mailer’s essay, ‘The Gay Villain’, 1954). Nabokov, by contrast, depicts Kinbote as lustful, entitled, screamingly absurd.”