Vladimir Nabokov

Loison-Charles, Julie. Translating Taste and Switching Tongues. 2020

Bibliographic title
Translating Taste and Switching Tongues
Publisher, city
Periodical or collection
The Five Senses in Nabokov's Works
Publication year
This chapter concentrates on food references in the books that Nabokov first wrote in English and then self-translated: Ada, Lolita, and his autobiography Speak, Memory. These self-translations were done completely by Nabokov, from English into Russian in the case of Lolita or Speak, Memory, but others were partial self-translations as they are cases of collaborative translation: thus, Nabokov closely followed, supervised and revised the French translation of Lolita and Ada. The strategies that Nabokov used in his novels in English to self-translate food references are strikingly similar to those he resorted to when he self-translated his texts into Russian or French. However, these self-translations offer complex situations, for instance when translating French food into French implies losing the heterogeneity of the text. One particularly interesting strategy can be observed in Nabokov’s self-translations of taste, as he sometimes resorts to sensory translation, thus making translating synesthetic.