Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0021932, Thu, 11 Aug 2011 11:21:09 +0000

NeMLA 2012 panel on Nabokov and Exile (abstracts due Sept. 30)

CALL FOR PAPERSConference: Northeast Modern Language Association (Rochester, NY; March 15 - 18, 2012)Panel: ‘Crossing the dark sky of exile’: Vladimir Nabokov and the Issue of Exile
In Speak,
Memory, Vladimir Nabokov writes that "Sirin passed," "across
the dark sky of exile" "like a meteor, and disappeared, leaving
nothing much else behind him than a vague sense of uneasiness." While most would disagree that Nabokov
disappeared or left nothing much behind him, many would agree that exile played
a large role in his life and works. Even
before he was forced to flee Russia, Nabokov's earliest poetry expressed the
pain of exile and loss, a pain that would only intensify in the years to
come. After several years in Germany and
France - during which time Nabokov continued to write in Russian despite
becoming increasingly aware that he would probably never return to the land of
his birth - Nabokov finally settled in America where he would find fame,
fortune, and notoriety, a life very different from that described by Charles
Kinbote in Pale Fire: "a writer in exile, sans fame, sans
future, sans audience, sans anything but his art." Such a triumph never could have occurred if
Nabokov had not left behind his Russian tongue for English, a move that Nabokov
once referred to as his "private tragedy," a tragedy perhaps
compounded when he later came to translate Lolita
into Russian and found that he had lost his mastery of the language of his
nation. What role does exile play in Nabokov's works? Why is it that this very important aspect of
hiss works has been so overlooked by Nabokov’s critics? Are Nabokov’s works confined or liberated by
his exile and his fictional explorations of it?
Do these explorations link Nabokov’s works to other fictional
explorations of exile? In what ways do
Nabokov’s works seek to transcend national boundaries and become works of world
literature? To what ends? This panel should appeal to anyone with an interest in Nabokov, exile and transnational influences on world literature. Please submit 250-300 word abstracts (MSWord) by September 30 to Jackie Cameron at jackiec159@hotmail.com.
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