NABOKV-L post 0014885, Sun, 11 Feb 2007 14:17:32 -0800

VN Bibliography: E.A. Popova.“Episode with a Lorgnet te.”
FROM: Don Johnson

I recently ran across a Russian serial publication on VN hitherto unknown to me: Krymskii Nabokovskii Nauchnyi Sbornik [The Crimean Nabokov Scholarly Collection]. So far as I can tell 4 issues have appeared. Vypusk [issues] 1-2 (Simferopl’, 2001) contains papers from a Nabokov conference in the Crimea. With a few exceptions, the 22 articles are by more or less local scholars and vary from quite solid to eccentric. Many papers touch on VN's 1917-1919 residence in the Crimea. I shall eventually do a brief summary of the issue but, for the nonce, I offer the following:

E.A. Popova. “Episode with a Lorgnette.” A curious piece noting VN’s comments on certain literary heroines who are associated with a lorgnette . In “Speak, Memory” it is Louise Poindexter, heroine of Mayne Reid’s “The Headless Horseman” - a book that set the 10-year-old Nabokov's heart aflutter and aflame. He then continues the history of the motif thru Emma Bovary and Anna Karenina who then passes the lorgnette to the heroine of Chekhov’s “Lady with the Lap Dog” who loses it on the Yalta pier. The strange thing is, as Popova points out, is that there is no lorgnette in Anna K. (I did a quick computer search of the Russian text that seemed to confirm this--although some synonym might have been used.) Popova asserts that this apparent lapse must be a deliberate motif. Apart from the beauteous Creole Louise, the ladies with lorgnettes are all adulteresses. Popova may (or may not) have something there, but she goes too far in suggesting that when Chekhov's heroine loses her lorgnette on the Yalta pier, it symbolizes the loss of the Motherland (as well as their virtue).

Females birdwatchers should perhaps take note.

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