It’s not taste and choice, just a factual error: “I was the shadow of the waxwing slain / By the false azure in the windowpane” is not the first line of Pale Fire. This is:
Pale Fire, a poem in heroic couplets, of nine hundred ninety-nine lines, divided into four cantos, was composed by John Francis Shade (born July 5, 1898, died July 21, 1959) during the last twenty days of his life, at his residence in New Wye, Appalachia, U.S.A.
Epigraph doesn’t count, obvs.
The mistake annoyed me: horrible itch in my stomach I needed to get to. If you think the opening of the poem is the opening of the novel, you’ve misunderstood or chronically misremembered the novel, so why pretend to like it?
Just a minute –
I said we’ll put aside the taste and choice arguments, but what the fuck is the following doing on any such list?
I was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, tho’ not of that Country, my Father being a Foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull; He got a good Estate by Merchandise, and leaving off his Trade, lived afterward at York, from whence he had married my Mother, whose Relations were named Robinson, a very good Family in that Country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but by the usual Corruption of Words in England, we are now called, nay we call our selves, and write our Name Crusoe, and so my Companions always call’d me.
By the time we’re at ‘…whose relations…’ I’m investigating my arteries with a butter knife. I feel bullied by boredom here: trapped by Defoe’s dismal, plodding view of creation. Fucking brick counter.