In response to:
Mirror, Mirror from the June 6, 1968 issue
To the Editors:
In his article on Nabokov (“Mirror, Mirror,” NYR, June 6) William Gass, speaking of King, Queen, Knave, writes: “Nabokov has taken this plot, we’re told, from a tale by Andersen….” A footnote to the words “we’re told” explains: “By Field, by Struve.”
Andrew Field, in his book on Nabokov (which I have not read), may have said so; he may even have said so on Nabokov’s authority; and he may be right, for all I know. But I never mentioned Andersen in connection with KQKn, either in my essay in the Wisconsin University volume on Nabokov, which Mr. Gass also reviews in his article, or anywhere else. I must ask you to publish this correction in the interests of accuracy and because I do not wish my name to be thus associated with that of Mr. Field.
University of California
William H Gass replies:
Mr. Struve is, of course, quite right, and I can now only account for my error in terms of eye-slippage. That is, I apparently substituted a note which coupled Mr. Field and Mr. Struve (but which I didn’t ultimately use), for one which listed only Mr. Field. However, since I double-check such references, this explanation does not really satisfy me. But in looking into this matter I discovered what to me at least is an even worse error. Mr. Field does not say that the plot of KQKn is taken from Andersen; in fact he says the opposite—that the plot is not relevant. The title, he claims, is taken from Andersen. Only the title. So Mr. Struve is right once, and I am wrong twice…at least twice. Inexcusable. My apologies.