Vladimir Nabokov

History of The Nabokovian by Stephen H. Blackwell

The History of The Nabokovian


Stephen Blackwell


The Spring/Fall 2015 issue of The Nabokovian marks the final edition of the journal to appear primarily in print, in accordance with the 2014 vote of the membership of the International Vladimir Nabokov Society on the Society’s future. The website that bears the same name, TheNabokovian.org, is expected to become increasingly active and an online version of The Nabokovian will appear there twice a year.

As many society members know, The Nabokovian was created in 1978 by Stephen Jan Parker as The Vladimir Nabokov Research Newsletter. It transformed into The Nabokovian in 1985. The “Notes and Brief Annotations” section began its life as “Annotations and Queries” and was edited over the years by Charles Nicol, Gennady Barabtarlo, and, of course, its current master of ceremonies, Priscilla Meyer. The checklist of criticism (later, “Bibliography”) was added in the third number, and for many years was produced by Stephen Jan Parker alone or in collaboration with his graduate students. He was succeeded in this endeavor by his former student Sidney Dement. Brian Boyd’s popular “Annotations to Ada began to appear in Spring 1993, and have been a mainstay of the journal ever since. Throughout Stephen Jan Parker’s years as Editor and Publisher of the journal, he was assisted by Ms. Paula Courtney, and the two of them produced 71 issues with admirable regularity. 

In recent years, many of the original functions of The Nabokovian were taken over or supplemented by Nabokv-L, founded by D. Barton Johnson for the Society, or by other web-based resources such as ZEMBLA, created by Jeff Edmunds on the Penn State University’s library servers. Throughout that time, The Nabokovian continued to be relevant to the Society’s members, serving as an ideal place to publish brief “note”-style discoveries that could not be submitted to regular scholarly journals. As a result of this openness, many Nabokov scholars (professional and otherwise) saw their first publications appear in its pages. 

It seems only fitting that the name "The Nabokovian" now adorns the Society’s web space, which is home to the sections previously housed in the printed journal, and also new sections launched by intrepid colleagues. Brian Boyd continues to publish his “Annotations” here first, six months before making them accessible at his AdaOnline site. The current online journal is more flexible than the previous print-only publication; it will certainly grow to contain many new features, and only time will tell what interesting forms and variations it will assume in the coming years. All Society members are encouraged to contribute to the life of the new Nabokovian web site.