NABOKV-L post 0011012, Wed, 9 Feb 2005 09:00:28 -0800

NABOKOV 101 at the St. Petersburg Nabokov Museum. July 2005


JULY 25 – AUGUST 3, 2005

General Information

On July 25- August 3, 2005 Vladimir Nabokov Museum, St.Petrsburg will hold its Sixth International Summer School.

Vladimir Nabokov International Summer School ( Nabokov 101) was established by the Vladimir Nabokov Museum in 2000. Every year it brings together Nabokov students from all over the world and internationally known Nabokov scholars. Our summer school provides a unique opportunity to study Nabokov’s art in the Nabokov House, in the athmosphere that inspired the writer.

All classes and guided tours are conducted in English.

After completing the program, the students receive a Certificate and, if required, a personal letter of recommendation from the professor.

One series of seminars will be conducted by Prof. Donald Barton Johnson (University of California at Santa-Barbara), among the world’s leading authorities on Vladimir Nabokov, one of the founders of the International Vladimir Nabokov Society and Nabokov Studies, author of Worlds in Regression: Some Novels of Vladimir Nabokov , moderator of the Vladimir Nabokov Forum.

The other series of seminars will be conducted by other distinguished Nabokov scholars each focusing on the topic of his/her current research.

Details on courses and reading lists will be e-mailed to all the applicants .

Seminars will begin on July 25 (Monday) and continue through August 3 (Wednesday) with one day-off in the middle of the program. There will be 8 days of seminars in all, with two 1,5 hour seminars every day. Also, an optional full-day trip to the former Nabokov estates will be offered on one of the days.

First series of seminars begins at 10.00

Second series begins at 12.00

Coffee break is from 11.30 to 12.00

In addition, optional guided tours of Nabokov sites and other literary points of interest in St.Petersburg will be offered by the Museum. Please find the description of some of the tours below.

Program costs

2005 tuition cost is $500. It covers participation in seminars, coffee-breaks, handouts, use of museum computers (with instant Internet access), use of museum library and a guided tour of the Nabokov House & Museum.

Other costs (not included)

Visa invitation & registration *

Accommodation in St.Petersburg (arranged by the Museum at student’s request):

$15-60 a day
$60-150 a day

$3-8 a day

Guided tours
$10-40 per tour

* Detailed information on how to obtain a Russian visa will be sent to applicants upon request.

Application and payment.

Participants can apply by e-mailing the application form to Tatyana Ponomareva, Museum Director at The deadline for accepting applications is June 1. We require a deposit of $100 payable to the Friends of Nabokov Museum, Inc. (tax-deductible for US citizens).

Tuition balance must be paid on the participant’s arrival to St.Petersburg.

Description of guided tours:

Tour of Nabokov Estates in Rozhdestveno and Vyra

A full-day field trip to the Nabokov family estates in the Gatchina area near St. Petersburg (about 50 miles from the city) will take you to the villages of Rozhdestveno and Vyra. Vladimir Nabokov spent almost all summers and some winters in the Vyra estate that belonged to his mother, paying frequent visits to his uncle’s Rozhdestveno and to his grandmother’s Batovo. The locale formed the setting for his novels Mary, The Defense, The Gift, and Ada as well as his short stories. Nabokov wrote about the area, with its beautiful scenery and special landmarks, in Speak, Memory:

”Diagrammatically, the three family estates on the Oredezh, fifty miles south of St. Petersburg, may be represented as three linked rings in a ten-mile chain running west-east across the Luga highway, with my mother’s Vyra in the middle, her brother’s Rozhdestveno on the right, and my grandmother’s Batovo on the left, the links being the bridges across the Oredezh (properly Oredezh’) which, in its winding, branching, and looping course, bathed Vyra on either side.”

The guided tour will begin from the middle of the three rings, Vyra. You will visit the site of the Nabokovs’ house on the bank of the Oredezh River. The house did not survive World War II, but some minor structures, formerly belonging to the estate, remain. And so do some of the old trees –“a certain spot in the forest, a footbridge across a brown brook...” From there we will take you to the Roshdestveno estate, “with its white-pillared mansion on a green, escarped hill and its two thousand acres of wildwood and peatbog.” The mansion, nearly destroyed by fire in 1995, is now under restoration.
There you will be able to get a spectacular bird-eye’s view of the area from the top-floor Rotunda.

After a visit to the Rozhdestveno church, and the family vault where Vladimir Nabokov’s grandparents were buried, you will go by bus to the Samson Vyrin Museum in the village of Vyra. This literary museum is named after a character from The Postmaster,a story by Alexander Pushkin which Nabokov esteemed highly. The exhibits lovingly recreate a 19th-century postmaster’s house. At the end of the trip, you may have dinner at the Samson Vyrin restaurant down the road.

• $40 per person (for a group of 5 and more), including transportation

• Dinner at Samson Vyrin Restaurant (not included ) - $ 5-10 per person.

Tour of Nabokov Sites in St. Petersburg

Part I

This is a 2-hour walking tour of Nabokov sites in the vicinity of St. Isaac’s Square and Bolshaya Morskaya Street. You will see parts of the St. Petersburg that were most familiar to Vladimir Nabokov as a child: the Alexandrovsky Garden with its monument to Przhevalsky (the explorer of Central Asia and one of the prototypes of Konstantin Godunov-Cherdyntsev in The Gift); the house on the Admiralty Embankment that belonged to Nabokov’s grandfather, Ivan Rukavishnikov; and the former English Shop on Nevsky, from where “all sorts of snug, mellow things came in a steady procession” to the anglophile Nabokovs. You will also see and hear literary stories about the St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the monument to Peter the Great (the Bronze Horseman), the Neva Embankment, and the Palace Square.

Length: 2 hours.
Cost: $10 per person.

Tour of Nabokov Sites in St.Petersburg

Part II.

This bus tour will allow you to follow Vladimir Nabokov’s morning route from the house in Bolshaya Morskaya Steet to the Tenishev School in Mokhovaya Street, which he attended from 1911 to 1917. Nabokov’s character Luzhin would go to his school in a horse-drawn carriage along this route, too. Thanks to The Defense and Speak, Memory we know which buildings along the route used to attract Nabokov’s attention. All of them are still around. You will stop at several places and get off the bus to look at the former Tenishev school, which is now Theater Academy. After that you will ride to Sergiyevskaya Street to see “Luzhin’s Aunt’s house.” The apartment building where Nabokov’s first love Lyussya Shulgina (“Tamara” from Speak, Memory as well as his “Mary”) lived is nearby. You will also see the house where Vera Slonim grew up.

The bus will also stop by the Tauride Gardens, with its two landmarks, the building where the First Russian Duma met (Nabokov’s father was a member of the First Duma) and the nearby Suvorov Museum. The gardens and the museum are the haunts of young lovers in Speak, Memory and Mary.

Many artists and writers of the “Silver Age” lived in this area. The term “Silver Age,” coined by the poet Anna Akhmatova, describes Russian Culture of the early 20th century. In one of his letters to Edmund Wilson Nabokov wrote about it: “I am a product of that period, I was bred in that atmosphere.” At the end of the tour you will see the famous Tower of the poet Vyacheslav Ivanov, the Muruzi House, and other literary places.

Length: 3 hours.
Cost: $20 per person.

Tour of Dostoevsky Sites in St. Petersburg

Although Vladimir Nabokov did not like Dostoevsky, St. Petersburg’s history is inseparable from the life of this writer and his characters. On this walking tour you will explore the setting of most of Dostoevsky’s novels and short stories. Your guide will take you around the Haymarket district, where the events of Crime and Punishment took place (the writer himself once lived in the area). The tour will end at the Dostoevsky Memorial Museum. The tour is conducted by the Dostoyevsky Museum guides.

Length: 3 hours.
Cost: $15 per person.

Tour of the Pushkinsky Dom Institute & Museum

The Pushkinsky Dom Institute was set up with the purpose to preserve Alexander Pushkin’s literary heritage. Besides being Russia’s leading center of literary studies it is known for its Literary Museum. The museum collection includes manuscripts and memorabilia of Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and other Russian writers. The tour is guided by the Pushkinsky Dom staff, with translation.

Length: 2.5 hours.

Cost: $15 per person .