Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003307, Sat, 15 Aug 1998 20:16:43 -0700

EDITOR's NOTE. Gavriel Shapiro, Chair of the Russian Department at
Cornell, is the organizer of the Nabokov Festival at Cornell
this September 10-12th. He has just published DELICATE MARKERS: SUBTEXTS
IN NABOKOV"S INVITATION TO A BEHEADING. Below, he responds to a query (see
bottom) from Alexei Medvedev.
From: Gavriel Shapiro <gs33@cornell.edu>

Nora Buhks wrote an excellent article on parallels
between _The Gift_ and _Invitation to a Beheading_. See her "Eshafot v
khrustal'nom dvortse: O romane Vl. Nabokova _Priglashenie na kazn'_,"
_Cahiers du monde russe_ 35 (1994): 821-38.

Gavriel Shapiro

>From: Alexei Medvedev <alexmedved@yahoo.com>
>Dear Colleagues!
>Recently I read an article by Victoria Shokhina "Chernyschevski
>through the eyes of Nabokov", published on the 24.07.98 in
>"Nezavisimaya gazeta".
>The main idea is that in 1935 Nabokov interrupted his work on the Gift
>in order to give another more sympathetic version of Chernyshevski
>life. So he wrote an Invitation to a Beheading.
>The parallelism of lives of Cincinnatus and Chernyshevski is indeed
>striking: both are school teachers, both have plump and good-looking
>wives who cheat , both are imprisoned for being sort of rebels,
>both try to escape two times, but their attempts turn out to be a
>farce... Furthermore, Cin. and Cher. are writing in prison the books
>of their lives ("Chto delat'?" and Cin's diary which turns out to be
>the novel itself). And finally both undergo some kind of dubious
>execution, after which u can't say are they alive or dead...
>Well, now I'm getting to the more personal part of my message. The
>fact is that all these observations were my long-cherished ideas,
>which unfortunately I haven't published in written form, but gave
>their brief summary during the radio broadcast dedicated to VN...
>So I just like to check if some of you have come across similar
>thoughts in books on VN? Perhaps my observations are quite common and
>I just don't know about it...
>Thanks in advance,
>Alexei Medvedev, Moscow
>Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com