Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004580, Wed, 17 Nov 1999 09:52:06 -0800

Paris-Marianne Gourg (fwd)
Marianne Gourg --- "An Attempted Analysis of the Tale "Spring in Fialta"

When Nabokov-Sirin wrote "Spring in Filata" in 1936 he realized
that he soon would have to leave Germany (and probably Europe) and
become an English-language writer. In 1956 Nabokov, having become an American
writer, put out a small collection of fourteen Russian stories under the
title _Spring in Fialta_. The tale, one that VN especially valued, was
written parallel to the novel _The Gift (1932-38).
My paper traces the numerous intellectual ties existing between
"Spring in Fialta" and classical Russian literature and Silver Age poetry
on the one hand, and Western European experimental literature on the
other. I stress the kinship of "Spring in Fialta and _The Gift_, the
sharing of a series of motifs and certain plot ploys, generalizing their
orientation toward the meta-literary.
"Spring in Fialta" is, in its way, a miniaturization of _The
Gift_. In this tale one sees in concentrated form the literary evolution
of Nabokov from poetry to prose, from Russian to English or French. The
oscillations and movements accompanying this process are conveyed via
concrete motifs endowed with meta-literary significance and are connected
with literary polemics of the period, i.e., the polemic with the journal
_Chisla_, the rejection of litterature engage)."
Moreover, in a retrospective reading of "Spring in Fialta," one
can discover the presence of the sound system that generates, in the words
of the author, the novel _ADA_ (1969), i.e, or/ap/bl/pl/fl.... In the case
at hand, Russian and English form layers and jointly promote the
appearance of a basic creative layer of artistic consciousness. On careful
examination the short tale "Spring in Fialta" concentrates within itself
virtually all of Nabokov's creative process. This probably accounts for
the author's extraordinary partiality to this work.

Trans. D.B.Johnson