Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001427, Tue, 12 Nov 1996 13:01:20 -0800

Re: lolita bibilography (fwd)
EDITOR'S NOTE. Marilyn Edelstein's reply to Trysha Travis's query re John
Ray, Jr. PhD's LOLITA Preface makes a point quite aside from its useful
information. Nabokov doctoral dissertations are (sometimes) a valuable
source of information that is too often ignored by researchers. Two
example cases are Jonathan Sisson's excellent "Cosmic Synchronization and
Other Worlds in the Work of VN" (Minnesota, 1979) and Maxim Shrayer's
recent Yale dissertation on Nabokov's short stories and their realtionship
to those of Bunin and Chekhov. A portion of the Sisson dissertation was
belatedly published in NABOKOV STUDIES #1 (1994) where a section from
Shrayer's also appeared. I urge all of you who are writing or have
recently finished dissertations to send abstracts to NABOKV-L.


Patricia Travis asked for citations of "discussions of the nature
and purpose of the John Ray preface and the VN afterword to LOLITA" in
her recent query. Not to sound self-promoting, but there's an extensive
discussion of this issue in my 1984 dissertation (which may never have
made it into VN bibliographies, since the title doesn't mention VN):
"At the Threshold of the Text: The Rhetoric of Prefaces to NOvels"
(SUNY at Buffalo, 1984). The last section (about 100 pages) is about
the dialogue between Foreword and Afterword in LO. I've also given
an MLA paper on this topic (and a couple of other conference papers
elsewhere) directly, and my 1995 MLA paper at the VN session was
on "The Liminal and the Subliminal: Nabokov's Prefatory Personae."
I also have an article forthcoming on "Liminal Authorship and
Authority in LOLITA"; the date of this will depend on when I finish
the final revisions. The article draws heavily on my '84 dissertation
and on some of the conference papers, although it has been significantly
revised and expanded. I mention these things because my long procrastination
in getting things finished and into print makes it hard to find (or read
) this work, especially since few scholars find and read dissertations.
Obviously, there's been other work on the prefatory texts in LOLITA as
well as on other Nabokovian forewords, etc. But I suspect my diss.
section and forthcoming article are the fullest discussions. If
Patricia wants a copy of the ms. of my forthcoming article, I'd
be glad to send it. Marilyn Edelstein, Associate Professor of English,
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara California 95053