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, and Roman Jakobson
Margarit Tadevosyan Ordukhanyan, Boston College
My dissertation examines Nabokov's representation of his linguistic displacement and literary bilingualism on the textual level of his English-language works. I argue that Nabokov's transition to writing in English reshaped his theoretical and practical conception of text, leading him to represent both Russian and English in his works. Four registers of Nabokov's writing---lexical choices, invented languages, self-translation, and subversion of genres---capture Nabokov's position between two languages and two literary traditions. They mirror on the level of language Nabokov's thematic representation of exile. Chapter one explores Nabokov's representation of literary bilingualism through code-switching, recherché vocabulary, and the use of visual metaphors to describe language in The Real Life of Sebastian Knight and Pale Fire. These devices mark a foreignness of Nabokov's prose as they call attention to language itself. Here, I contrast Nabokov's textual multilingualism to Joseph Conrad's representation of foreign speech in "Amy Foster." Chapter two discusses Nabokov's use of invented languages in "Solus Rex," Bend Sinister, and Pale Fire, as creative alternatives to literary bilingualism. These fictional languages, composed of competing etymological roots, also encode Nabokov's metalinguistic commentary on the simultaneously individual and derivative nature of language. Chapter three examines Nabokov's Russian translation and subsequent re-"Englishing" of Speak Memory! I demonstrate that Nabokov's choice of language determines his construction of his autobiographic self and interaction with the external world. Nabokov uses self-translation to capture different modes of remembering in English and Russian and deconstructs the binary notion of foreign and native language. I discuss self-translation as a mode of rewriting memory in the Armenian and English versions of Hakob Asadourian's Grandchildren of Hovakim. Chapter four analyzes the narrative uncertainty of Nabokov's English-language works and establishes a link with the subversion of genres in the biography Nikolai Gogol and his novels. The suspension of interpretive meaning on the limits of genre reflects Nabokov's exilic position and deflects the referentiality of his texts. I draw parallels to Roman Jakobson's definition of poetic language and his argue that in both his and Nabokov's writing, linguistic displacement leads to a prioritization of language over meaning.
Margarit Tadevosyan Ordukhanyan, "Strangers in stranger tongues: Vladimir Nabokov and the writing of exile, with reference to Joseph Conrad, Hakob Asadourian, and Roman Jakobson" (January 1,
Petersburg's most innovative .2006). and these chosen creatures I propose designate as "nymphets. to certain bewitched travelers. and acknowledged lepidopterist. LOLITA (1955). Petersburg into a wealthy. and journalist. Nabokov wrote both in Russian and English. was a liberal politician. she wakens and he runs into the traffic and dies.Nabokov spoke Russian and English. Boston College Dissertations and Theses. Paper AAI3209828. His father. was written in 1939 in Paris.bc." (from Lolita) Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. The household was Anglophile . http://escholarship. Nabokov received his education at the Tenishev. who falls in love with a 12-year-old girl and marries her sick. St. The first version of the story. His best-known novel. but nymphic (that is. demoniac). The Enchanter centered on a middle-aged man. lawyer.edu/dissertations/AAI3209828 Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) . VOLSHEBNIK (The Enchanter). shocked many people but its humor and literary style were praised by critics. aristocratic family. reveal their nature. which is not human. widowed mother to satisfy his erotic desires. twice or many times older than they. and at the age of five he learned French. critic. Vladimir Dimitrievich Nabokov.pen name Vladimir Sirin Russian-born American novelist. He molests the girl in a Riviera hotel while she's asleep. "Between the age limits of nine and fourteen there occur maidens who.
in which the remaining days in the life the central character correspond to the length of his pencil. The Defense) Nabokov took the role of a grandmaster and played with the expectations of his readers. Aleksandr Luzhin. Nabokov themes became later more ambiguous puzzles ± he was a remarkable chess player ± that challenge the reader to involve in the game. Cambridge." In LECTURES ON LITERATURE (1980) Nabokov wrote that to be a good reader one do not have to lean heavily on emotional identification. Most of his readers were Russian émigrés ± in the Soviet Russia his books were banned or ignored. ''Readers are not sheep. MASHENKA (1926). Nabokov's first novel. where worked as a translator." In Zashchita Luzhina (1930. Nabokov spent 15 years in Berlin. Luzhin is right: there is an opponent and he is Nabokov himself. During the Russian Revolution his father was briefly arrested. Luzhin finds it increasingly difficult to make transition from the world of the game to everyday reality. a novel and an intellectual history of 19thcentury Russia. they had one son. as he said in the short novel OTCHAYANIYE (1936. Despair. memory. 1937). From 1932-37 he lived with his wife and son at Nestorstrasse 22 in Wilmersdorf. The protagonist. and some artistic sense ± which sense I propose to develop in myself and in others whenever I have the chance. Nabokov's early nine novels were published under the pen name Vladimir Sirin. Berlin was for him a city " "swarming with ragamuffins". and the social-economic or historical angle. is a chess phenomenon. "and not every pen (pun) tempts them. a dictionary.school. "I . He decides to throw himself out of a window and notices that the courtyard below seems to look like a giant chessboard. or belong to a book club. and tennis coach. who becomes a character on a giant chessboard. Vladimir Dimitrievich was murdered in Berlin in 1922 by a Russian monarchist. the flow of time and sense of loss. Luzhin starts to believe that a cunning opponent is trying to manipulate the moves he makes in his life. he recuperates slowly with the help of a young woman. and Invitation to a Beheading (1938). who came from a Jewish family. Dmitri. from where he graduated in 1923. He won acceptance as the leading young writer in the Russian community. The family emigrated to Berlin and Nabokov entered Trinity College. In his early works Nabokov dealt with the death. After suffering a mental breakdown. a political fantasy. "The good reader is one who has imagination. In 1924 Nabokov married Véra Evseevna Slonim. was written in Russia. Already using complex metaphors. As a writer Nabokov gained his first literary success with his translations of some of Heine's songs. tutor. but he did not have much time to enjoy his wealth. At 16 he inherited a large estate from his father's brother. Also Nabokov himself wrote everything in longhand. These works included The Gift (1937-38). action." he once wrote to a publisher. who makes the point that the story is an artistic creation.
As a lepidopterist he was self-taught. Tolstoy. until 1958. Nabokov's first publication in English was an article titled 'A Few Notes on Crimean Lepidoptera'. the tribe Polyommatini.000 miles on butterfly trips. Joyce. Nabokov moved to Paris in 1937. set mainly in pre-revolutionary Russia. With a loan he received from the composer Rachmaninov. to switch from Russian to English. He also held a modest but official position at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Nabokov published only memoirs and verse in Russian. Nabokov's first novels in English were THE REAL LIFE OF SEBASTIAN KNIGHT (1941) and BEND SINISTER (1947). Especially he was interested in Blues. The Atlantic and the New Yorker started to publish Nabokov's short stories in the early 1940s. Evelyn Waugh. Turgenev.K. where he had a first-class cabin. . VESNA V FIAL'TE. He also continued his extensive researches in entomology. I appear as a precious person in that book. Changing language was not easy ± ''What agony it was. becoming a recognized authority on butterflies. Memory. and others. Nabokov moved three years later with his wife and son to the United States ± he crossed the ocean on the Champlain. although it was banned in Paris in 1956-58 and not published in full in America and the U. The English writer Graham Greene cited it among the best books of 1955. not dilettantish. in the early 'forties. MEMORY (1966).M. When Hitler released the killer of his father. With Lolita Nabokov gained a huge success. In America. All that chess and those butterflies. and E. delivering highly acclaimed lectures on Flaubert. Later Nabokov estimated that between the years 1949 and 1959 he traveled more than 150." he confessed in an interview in 1962.'' he wrote in a letter in 1954. When the Australian critic and writer Andrew Field planned to write a biography on Nabokov. found all over the world. There he met the Irish novelist James Joyce. a literary bomb. Nabokov taught at Wellesley College and Cornell University." It took six years before Nabokov finished Lolita. and it was not a very pleasant portrait. Forster did not share his view. apart from collecting his shorter prose of the 1930s into one book. which was later revived as SPEAK. the answer was: "I told everything about myself in Speak. but his attitude to scientific work was serious. CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE (1951) was an autobiography. "My pleasures are the most intense known to man: writing and butterfly hunting. The job lasted until 1948." In his boyhood Nabokov had already made notes on butterflies and in 1920 The Entomologist had published his article 'A Few Notes on Crimean Lepidoptera'." Nabokov once said. Not very interesting.cannot type. Edmund Wilson. His years at the museum Nabokov described "the most delightful and thrilling in all my adult life.
which after his death were stored at the Cantonal Museum of Zoology of Lausanne. the narrator. In 1957 Nabokov published PNIN.Lolita is one of the most controversial novels of the 20th-century. a story of a hapless Russian professor of literature on an American college campus." From 1959 Nabokov lived in Switzerland. where his permanent home was at the Montreux Palace Hotel. for a 12-year-old girl. and translation of Aleksandr Pushkin's masterpiece Eugene Onegin (1964). Humbert kills him and dies in a prison of a heart attack. The writer's son Dmitri has undertook the translation of several of Nabokov's books from these later years." Lolita allowed Nabokov to abandon teaching and devote himself entirely to writing. his Lolita. Humbert keeps a prison-diary of his lifelong fascination with pubescent "nymphets". Humbert loses her to Clare Quilty. "and I also knew that at best the end product is such cases is less of a blend than a collision of interpretations. a playwright and pornographic filmmaker. Among Nabokov's major critical works are his study of Nikolay Gogol (1944). Nabokov's later works include ADA (1969). represented by an American teenage girl. with commentary. Stanley Kubrick's film version of the book was based on Nabokov's screenplay. During the course of the story. He continued to collect butterflies. The story deals with the desire of a middle-aged pedophile Humbert Humbert. in which Nabokov's own life coincides occasionally with the protagonist's. "I can do what only a true artist can do. and LOOK AT THE HARLEQUINS! (1975)." he starts his story. in which the rhetoric of the protagonist both captivates and repels. in all its vulgarity." Nabokov said. In the Soviet Union he perhaps enjoyed greater fame than in the West. and for the old world ± Humbert is an European expatriate ± encountering the new.. "Lolita. who dies of typhus. wean myself abruptly from the habit of things. She reminds him of the little girl he loved as a boy. light of my life. "I knew that if I did not write the script somebody else would.. partly a one-thousand-line poem in heroic couplets by John Shade." describes the mad Kinbote himself. fire of my loins. a mixture of Russia and America. PALE FIRE (1962) was an ambitious mixture of literary forms. "pounce upon the forgotten butterfly or revelation. The ten-year-long work was first brought out by the Bollingen Foundation in four volumes. partly a commentary on them by a mad exiled king. TRANSPARENT THINGS (1972). The first is Annabel Leigh. . Nabokov died in Lausanne on July 2. Humbert is said to be a metaphor for the writer and his art. also a writer. a love story set on the planet of Antiterra. Nabokov himself wanted to be valued more as an American writer than a Russian one. Lolita dies in childbirth as delivering a stillborn daughter. in a New England town. but then he finds Dolores Haze. 1977. Kinbote.
1999. fabulations. parents. L. 1986. Speak. The Garland Companion to Vladimir Nabokov. Nabokov's Garden by B. Vladimir Nabokov: His Life and Works by Stanley P.For further reading: The Annotated Lolita by A. Read more: Vladimir Nabokov Biography . by H. Baldwin (2004) . Memory: An Autobiography Revisited. 1967. Boyd (1990). Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years.L. Vladimir Nabokov by T.. Umberto Eco. The Magician's Doubts by Michael Wood (1994). Nabokov. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Field. Cornwell. Neil. Nabokov: The Man and His Work. For More Information Boyd. Nabokov Translated by J. Vladimir Nabokov. children. by Vladimir E. Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years by B. Lee (1976). Nicol and G. ed. Vladimir. Brian. Barabtarlo (1993). Apper Jr. Knopf. ed. Bloom (1987). Alexandrov (1995). . Princeton. 1991. The Life and Art of Vladimir Nabokov.A. VN. Grayson (1977). England: Northcote House. Pniniad by Galya Diment (1997). Nabokov's World: Reading Nabokov by Jane Grayson (2002).SEE other writers who combine fantastical elements. death. Mason (1974). Dembo. Lolita: A Janus Text by Lance Olsen (1995). Vladimir Nabokov by L. Rev. family. Sharpe (1991). VN: The Life and Art of Vladimir Nabokov by A. ed. 1999. Nabokov's Pale Fire: The Magic of Artistic Discovery by Brian Boyd (2000). Andrew. Vladimir Nabokov. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. (1970). 1967. NJ: Princeton University Press. ed. Field (1986). name. New York: Alfred A. Reprint. Plymouth.life. Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years by B. story. with realistic narrative: Italo Calvino. See also: Magic Realism. Nabokov's Blues: The Scientific Odyssey of a Literary Genius by Kurt Johnson et al (2001). New York: Crown. Small Alpine Form by C. school. Vladimir Nabokov by Jane Grayson (2003). Boyd (1991). S. Günter Grass.
if so.Paperback . Style is Matter« more » Keys to the Gift: A Guide to Vladimir Nabokov's Novel [Book] by Leving Yuri in Books Overview . why that message is so artfully concealed. year http://www.ISBN 080147664X Some of my characters are.'--Vladimir Nabokov.young.Compare prices .Cornell Univ Pr (2010) . Strong Opinions--With this quote Leland de la Durantaye launches his elegant and incisive exploration of the ethics of art in the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov.224 pages . the author asks whether the work of this writer whom many find cruel contains a moral message and. old. no doubt. pretty beastly.notablebiographies. they are outside my inner self like the mournful monsters of a cathedral facade--demons placed there merely to show that they have been booted out. college. time. but I really don't care. house. Focusing on Lolita but also addressing other major works (especially Speak. information.Compare prices $15 new from 7 sellers By Leland De La Durantaye . movie. born. Memory and Pale Fire).com/Mo-Ni/Nabokov-Vladimir. book.Related books . son.html#ixzz0yOLodck3 Style Is Matter: The Moral Art of Vladimir Nabokov [Book] by Leland De La Durantaye in Books Overview .
¿The Text. Nabokov and Szeftel embodied much of the complexity and variety of the Russian postrevolution emigre experience in Europe and the United States. ¿The Novel.Academic Studies Pr (2010) . The second part of the monograph. in the estimate of many.University of Washington Press (1997) . characters.Related books $32 new. Drawing on previously unpublished« more » .ISBN 0295976349 In this wry.Web references . Galya Diment explores the complicated and fascinating relationship between Vladimir Nabokov and his Cornell colleague Marc Szeftel who.ISBN 1934843970 Yuri Leving¿s Keys to "The Gift¿ systematizes in a succinct and coherent way the main available data on Nabokov¿s most complex Russian novel .Paperback .Compare prices . $8 used from 6 sellers 3 reviews By Galya Diment . She offers astute comments on Nabokov's fictional process in creating Timofey Pnin and addresses hotly debated questions and long-standing riddles in Pnin and its history. Its first part. and thoroughly engaging book.Between the two of them. as well as reconstructs an internal chronology of the novel. judiciously balanced.202 pages .The Gift (1934-1939) . public and critical reaction.Reviews .from passing notes in the private correspondence to scholarly articles. and motifs.Contents .$14 new from 6 sellers By Leving Yuri . accumulated during the seventy years since its first appearance in the print.Hardback .« more » Pniniad: Vladimir Nabokov and Marc Szeftel [Book] by Galya Diment in Books Overview .350 pages .¿ describes the creation of the novel and the history of its publication.¿ outlines the basic properties of The Gift: the plot. style. served as the prototype for the gentle protagonist of the novel Pnin.
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