Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001574, Thu, 26 Dec 1996 12:49:37 -0800

VN Sessions at MLA-AATSEEL: Washington D.C.
Since MLA and AATSEEL are fast approaching, I am rerunning the Nabokov
programs at both conferences which are taking place in Washington D.C. 27
-30 December, 1996. Happy Holidays to all and all the very best wishes, GD
> > --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > #341. FAMILY/ANTIFAMILY IN NABOKOV'S WORK; Sunday, December 29, 1996
> > 8:30-9:45, Lanai 152, Sheraton Washington
> > Arranged by the Vladimir Nabokov Society
> > Presiding: Eric Hyman, Fayettesville State Un.
> > ---------------------------------------
> > -------------------------------------------------
> > 1. "The Mirrored Self: Incestuous Fictions in Nabokov's _Ada_"
> >
> > Claudia Rattazzi Papka,
> > Columbia University
> > <crp4@columbia.edu>
> >
> >
> > Vladimir Nabokov's _Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle_ takes
> > place around the turn of the century in a world called Antiterra, a
> > planet resembling our own as an mirrored image does. Reflection is
> > indeed one of the central images of the novel, most simply explicable
> > as a metaphor for the incestuous love of Van and Ada Veen which the
> > novel recounts. If one examines more closely the mirrorings,
> > doublings, anagrams, and allusions which permeate the novel, however,
> > it becomes possible to argue that the incestuous relationship itself
> > is but a reflection, and a metaphor, in turn, for the fiction-writing
> > process.
> > The Veen family tree, presented in epic fashion at the novel's
> > beginning, conceals Van and Ada's true, shared parentage, but reveals
> > a suspicious mirroring in the names and birthdates of their putative
> > parents, which has led one critic to suggest that the two sets of
> > parents are simply one set "seen from different perspectives."[1]
> > That this creation of two from one may be the central _modus operandi_
> > of the "sibling planet"[2] casts doubt upon Antiterra's own reality, and
> > thus upon the reliability, and sanity, of the narrator himself, Van
> > Veen. Led by this doubt, I examine the scene of Van and Ada's
> > adolescent consummation and find in its refelections and doublings,
> > including the narrative doubling in which Van and Ada debate "in the
> > margins" about Van's recreation of their shared past, the foundation
> > for another doubt: Does Ada herself really exist, or is she but a
> > creation of Van's mirroring mind?
> > The answers to these questions are found in the madness that runs
> > through the impossible mirrorings of Van's family tree; in the echoes
> > of Van's first summer with Ada in his second, where several scenes are
> > replayed with the crucial substitution of his real cousin, Lucette,
> > for Ada; and in the mirroring Antiterran parodies of literary works by
> > Paul Verlaine and Guy de Maupassant, as elucidated by the anagrammatic
> > alter ego of Nabokov himself in _Notes to_ Ada _by Vivian Darkbloom_. The
> > clues are scattered throughout Van's memoir, and lead me to conclude
> > that the metatextual analogy Van uses to describe his youthful
> > maniambulation act is indeed an accurate description of the nature of
> > Ada's existence--as _Ada_:
> >
> > The essence of the satisfaction belonged rather to the
> > same order as the one he later derived from self-imposed,
> > extravagantly difficult, seemingly absurd tasks when V.V.
> > sought to express something, which until expressed had
> > only a twilight existence (or even none at all--nothing
> > but the illusion of the backward shadow of its immanent
> > impression).[3]
> >
> > Van has had a incestuous encounter with his cousin, Lucette, and
> > this transgression has led not only to her suicide, but also to Van's
> > madness. This madness inspires the rewriting of Van's life, his
> > family, and his world through a series of doublings which create
> > Antiterra, Van's antifamily (which includes his sister and double,
> > Ada), and, finally, the novel itself.
> >
> > Notes
> >
> > 1. Charles Nicol, "_Ada_ or Disorder," in _Nabokov's Fifth Arc_, eds.
> > J. E. Rivers and C. Nicol (Austin: U. of Texas Press, 1982), 240.
> >
> > 2. Vladimir Nabokov, _Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle_ (New York:
> > McGraw Hill, 1969), 244.
> >
> > 3. ibid 196
> > ---------------------------------------------------
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > 2. "Resisting Narratives: Incest Narrative Structure in Lolita"
> >
> > Jen Shelton
> > Vanderbilt University
> > <sheltojl@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu>
> >
> > Improper relations between a female child and an adult man are plainly
> > central to the thematic concerns of Nabokov's Lolita. Humbert Humbert,
> > acting as Dolly's father, clearly sees their relationship as incestuous.
> > But "incest" in Lolita is more than a theme or an obsession. "Incest" also
> > names a narrative structure in which control and chaos struggle with one
> > another.
> > Incestuous relations between an adult and a child involve a narrative
> > component in addition to the obvious physical elements. That is, incest
> > generates narrative: forbidden by culture, incest requires explanation by
> > those who are engaged in it. Fathers who commit incest on their daughters
> > must create narratives to explain their relations with their daughters and
> > to obviate the potential of onlookers to grow suspicious. They must also
> > arrange narratives for their daughters so that daughters are more likely to
> > keep the secret than to reveal it: narratives that blame the daughter
> > rather than the father for the incestuous contact, for instance. Daughters,
> > meanwhile, are propelled to a different kind of narrative by their
> > experience of incest. Because children's power is different from adults',
> > children's best hope of ending abuse is to engage an adult's assistance by
> > telling what is happening. Thus, within incestuous relations, children's
> > power is principally narrative: if the incest is revealed, mechanisms of
> > social order will halt it because incest is officially banned. Of course, a
> > child's task of conveying such information is complicated by society's
> > horror of incest, which prevents it from believing that such things can
> > occur and which prefers to believe children are lying than that
> > ordinary-seeming fathers could commit such acts.
> > Within texts, narratives that combine competing discursive intents display
> > the qualities of incest storytelling. In particular, narratives in which
> > one voice attempts to overmaster other voices, but which is always thwarted
> > by the insistence of the other voices, are structured like incest
> > narratives. Lolita clearly falls into this category. As Humbert Humbert
> > tells the story of his desire for Dolores Haze and his relations with her,
> > his story enacts a battle of mastery and chaos like the conflict of incest
> > storytelling. Their trip across the United States, for instance, combines
> > the chaos of unplanned ricocheting from one tourist site to another with
> > Humbert's control of Dolly. Similarly, the text's prose merges Humbert's
> > careful manipulation of storytelling elements with the lush proliferation of
> > literary device at the sentence level, a proliferation that is always just
> > beyond control, analogous to Lolita's existence beyond Humbert's real control.
> > Incest within Lolita, then, is more pervasive than the plot-level obsession
> > of the protagonist with his stepdaughter. It informs narrative itself
> > within the book, urging a style of suppression mixed with resistance, a
> > mixture with implications for gendered and generational power structures.
> > That is, the chaotic, experimental, rule-breaking energy of the text is
> > associated with the counter-authoritative voice of the object of incest,
> > while the mastering, controlling, containing energy in the text is connected
> > to the authoritative voice of the father, whose cultural position dictates
> > that he uphold taboos, including the one on incest, and govern his
> > daughter's unruliness. That the father's sexual desire for the daughter is
> > already disruptive of his controlling function indicates why an incestuous
> > narrative structure accompanies an incest thematic in this text.
> > ----------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Charles Nicol, Indiana State Un.
> > <EJNICOL@root.indstate.edu>
> >
> >
> > My paper begins with an extended comparison of the Shade and
> > Humbert-Haze families, noting not only obvious differences but some
> > curious similarities in these two "triptichs."
> > After that, it discusses Humbert in his role as Lolita'ss father,
> > a role which Humbert internalizes and which everyone but Quilty
> > accepts without question. (I hope this latter part dovetails with,
> > rather than overlaps, Jen Shelton's paper immediately before it.)
> >
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > --------------------------------------------------------

> > #678 OPEN SESSION ON VLADIMIR NABOKOV; Monday, December 30
Chair: Ellen Pifer, Univ. of Delaware
> > 10:15-11:30 a.m., Warren, Sheraton Washington
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Christian Moraru (Indiana U.)
> > Dept. of Comp. Lit.
> > cmoraru@hamlet.ucs.indiana.edu
> >
> >
> > Drawing on Erwin Goffman's "frame analysis" amd on theories of
> > fictionality (Thomas Pavel) and make-believe (Kendall Walton), my paper
> > discusses the playful rearticulation of the borders between fiction and
> > reality in VN's short story "The Assistant Producer." In fact, as I argue,
> > the story can be viewed as a true watershed in the author's career, a
> > moment at which various biographic and autobiographic, linguistic,
> > political, culti\ural, and aesthetic boundaries are being renegotiated. While
> > focusing primarily on the asthetic dimension of this process, my
> > intervention also acknowledges that Nabokov's ludic fictionalizing of
> > reality and "naturalization" of fiction carry important political
> > implications.
> > What interests me here most, though, is the platful enframing of
> > actual facts and facts deliberately presented as figments. In my view,
> > this mutual, recurrent enframing foretells the more explicit and daring
> > "postmodern" games Nabokov will play with his readers in Lolita_ (1955)
> > and _Pale Fire_ (1962), novels in which critics like Brian McHale have
> > located the "crossover" from modernist to postmodernist fiction. On the
> > one hand, "The Assistant Producer" does incorporate a "true" episode for
> > the life of the Russian singer Plevitskaya; on the other hand, it
> > displaces geographical mimesis by enacting life as a scenario, more
> > precisely, as a performative (dramatic, operatic, filmic) discourse. Yet
> > if life spins off literature as its "impersonation," this can happen in so
> > far as the former has already taken on a performative structure able to
> > engender the latter. Life "produces" fiction as an "assistant producer"
> > produces--etymologically, "brings forward"--a movie, as any fictional
> > mechanisms give rise to fiction. Thus, the frontiers keeping apart "life"
> > and its "double" are being abolished--which is both the theme AND the
> > outcome of the performative act (text) titled "The Assistant Producer."
> > My paper basically dwells on the major scenes and tropes of
> > performance Nabokov employs to thematize and concretely overreach the
> > borders between facts and images of facts. Among these episodes,
> > allusions, and symbols, the cinematic references and figures play the most
> > significant role in the intermingling of fiction and reality (history). A
> > consequence of this intertwining and overlapping of divergent ontological
> > realms, Nabokov's multilayered, disorienting narrative swiftly moves back
> > and forth between Russian history-based, Hollywood-produced movies (which
> > the text outlines and mocks simultaneously) and movie-like, cinematically
> > reconstituted history. To our confusion, the subject matter of these two
> > modes of representation is the same, that is, "la Slavska's" career as a
> > singer and spy. What is more, narrative representation, whether covering
> > "real" events or just summarizing the filmic reworking of these events,
> > adopts motion picture as its unique model. Finally, characters and
> > situations in the narrated movies intriguing cross overinto the territory
> > of the real,"denaturalizing" its reality very much like "actual people"
> > (Russian emigres) are hired by German film companies to represent "'real'
> > audiences in pictures." Consequently, the reader gets entangled in a
> > narrative maze announcing, as I contend, Nabokov's later ontological and
> > aesthetic games of enframing.
> > --------------------------------------------------------
> >
> >
> >
> > 2. "Dancing on one's Hands: Metaphoric Gymnastics in _Ada_"
> >
> > Robert Alpert
> > RDALPERT@aol.com
> >
> > This paper argues that readers' impatience with Ada has its roots
> > in a desire to domesticate Nabokov's literary project, to transform him
> > from rigorous formalist to insightful satirical observer. Without
> > slighting Nabokov's great satirical powers, I argue that such a vision of
> > literature was always vexing to Nabokov. More broadly, this paper argues
> > that Nabokov came to realize that satire is simply a subspecies of
> > narrative, a literary form which at least slights or at worst is inimical
> > to trope which for Nabokov represents the soul of literature, its great
> > consolation, the one feature of art that could create a momentary triumph
> > over "the ardis of time."
> > "Dancing on One's Hands: Metaphoric Gymnastics in Ada" explores Nabokov's
> > evolving attitude toward the relationship between trope and narrative. In
> > earlier novels Nabokov felt that figure and narrative could exist
> > symbiotically or contrapuntally. This paper considers Lolita's great
> > metaphor of Quilty rising from the shock of Humbert's bullets "like old gray
> > mad Nijinski" as an exemplary case of earlier Nabokovian metaphor, a grand
> > metaphor of performance that could exist happily within a narrative that had
> > identical concerns. Nabokov, this paper argues, finally came to believe that
> > figure, however elaborate and skillfully fashioned, would, absent certain
> > "excessive" measures, always be absorbed and domesticated by narrative;
> > consequently in Ada his project is to write a novel based literally on these
> > excessive measures i.e. to write a novel which would - to use Robert
> > Frost's phrase -"make metaphor the whole of thinking." This paper in
> > attempting to explore that project, uses the novel's own metaphorical
> > definition of the force of figure, Van's gymnastic prowess, to define and to
> > examine the evolution of Nabokov's thoughts on the power of figure. It argues
> > that Nabokov proclaims -like his protagonist-that troping metaphor, in Van
> > Veen's phrase, "standing it on its head" intensifies conceits and allows them
> > to resist more powerfully the entropy of narrative, the Frostian "drift of
> > things." The paper concludes with an examination of two conceits from the
> > novel: the first, the comparison of Dan Veen's erotic life to a top coat and
> > the second Van and Ada's comparison of a sunset to the stare of a stranger.
> > In both cases the effect of the metaphors or the worldlets of the metaphors
> > is to shatter the continuity of narrative, to cause us to pause and attend to
> > the smallest movements and gestures of language, to reveal the rhapsody of
> > figure behind the illusion of narrative, to understand that with Ada ,as
> > Nabokov said about "Hamlet ", "The metaphor's the thing."
> > ---------------------------------------------
> >
> > 3. "The Rapture of Endless Approximation: Nabokov and the Art of the Scholar"
> >
> > Brian Walter, Assistant Prof. of English
> > University of the Ozarks
> > <bwalter@dobson.ozarks.edu>
> >
> > "[F]ootnotes always seem comic
> > to a certain type of mind."
> >
> > -- Nabokov, "Introduction,"
> > _Bend Sinister_ (xviii)
> >
> > Portraits of the scholar in Nabokov's work consistently emphasize -- and
> > validate -- the highly subjective nature of the scholar's enterprise.
> > Timofey Pnin, the most beloved and sympathetic scholar in Nabokov's work,
> > discovers in his esoteric labors the "rapture of endless approximation,"
> > the layering of his perceptions over the designs imprinted within the
> > sources of his study.. The effort to find a close fit, to adapt the
> > elements of one's vision to the elaborated details of the text, demands
> > imaginative faculties of the scholar akin to those of the creative artist.
> > In his resourcefulness, then, the scholar becomes potentially the most
> > artistic of readers. Where Yeats asks in "The Scholars" what the scholar
> > would say (in shock and horror) if Catullus were revealed to be as dull
> > and conventional as those who dissect his work, Nabokov posits the
> > possibility of a scholar as vibrant and creative as the poet, and demands
> > that the reader recognize and value these qualities. That this figure of
> > the scholar dispenses with all pretense of objectivity or easy usefulness
> > is, in Nabokov's scheme, a very small price to pay for the additional
> > image of the imagination at white heat made available to the reader.
> >
> > The increasingly prevalent scholastic apparatuses -- the commentaries,
> > indexes, chronologies, and bibliographies -- in Nabokov's later work form
> > an important and revealing part, then, of his overarching scheme to
> > defamiliarize the act of reading. The worst thing a reader can do is to
> > take the work of the artist for granted: "Since the master artist used his
> > imagination in creating his book, it is natural and fair that the consumer
> > of a book should use his imagination too" (from "Good Readers and Good
> > Writers"). Nabokov seeks to extend this protection to the masterly
> > creative scholar as well. Because the index, the chronology, and other
> > scholastic aids encourage the reader to atomize the preciously organic
> > work of the imagination into discreet bits of seemingly objective
> > information -- offering thereby a specious means to circumvent the
> > author's carefully planned tour of the text -- Nabokov expends extra
> > effort in devising them to spark the reader's imagination, to destroy any
> > illusion of the scholar's objectivity. Further, he carefully
> > circumscribes the scholastic appendixes within an artistic design. His
> > indexes in particular serve more as a guide to Nabokov's preferred and
> > often idiosyncratic image of his own work rather than as a quick reference
> > guide to the author's mots on prominent figures.
> >
> > With particular reference to passages from NIKOLAI GOGOL, PNIN, PALE FIRE,
> > and EUGENE ONEGIN, my paper demonstrates how, by emphasizing the
> > subjectivity of the scholar, Nabokov finally contrives to set a mirror
> > before his readers, holding up for their examination their own, highly
> > subjective methods and goals in reading. Nabokov's exploitations and
> > loving parodies of the scholar's work are finally designed to foster the
> > reader's creativity and imagination, to make an art of reading, an artist
> > of the reader. Nabokov's artistic reader finally mimics Pnin in seeking
> > out the "rapture of endless approximation," the union of his or her
> > imagination with the author's by means of the intermediary text, even when
> > that text masquerades as a pedestrian, uninspired textbook rather than the
> > brainchild of the divine imagination.
> >
> > -----------------------------------------------------------
> >
> >
> >
> > 4. "Vladimir Nabokov and Captain Mayne Reid"
> >
> > D. Barton Johnson (UCSB)
> > <chtodel@humanitas,ucsb.edu>
> >
> > Nabokov's _Speak, Memory_ draws on Mayne Reid's 1865
> > Wild West adventure novel _The Headless Horseman_ to introduce
> > his cousin and best friend Yuri Rausch and the theme of sexual awakening.
> > Mayne Reid had still other roles in Nabokov' s life and works. Nabokov's
> > first juvenilia derived from Mayne Reid who came to be connected in
> > Nabokov's mind with certain ideals of manly valor and sexuality. Most
> > importantly, Reid created a myth of America in the 1840s that would, in
> > some ways, become part of Nabokov's reality in the 1940s. The paper will
> > focus on VN's use of the illustrations in _The Headless Horseman_
> > and other Reid books.
> >
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> > -------------------------------------------------------------------
> > MLA Nabokovians are welcome to the Nabokov Society Session offered at
> > the American Assoc. of Teachers Of Slavic & E. European Languages
> > (ATTSEEL) Convention which is concurrent with the MLA meetings.
> > I do not yet have the Hotel name or room number for the AATSEEL events
> > but shall pass them on shortly. Please note that the Nabokov Society MLA
> > session is on the morning of 30 December (above) and the Nabokov Society
> > AATSEEL session is that same afternoon.
> >
> >
> > Slot: 30 Dec. 1996, 1:00-3:00
> > Chair: Anna Brodsky, Washington & Lee University
> > Discussant: D. Barton Johnson
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Dominica Radulescu
> > Dept. of Romance Language
> > Washington & Lee University
> >
> > This study is a comparative analysis of Nabokov's _Invitation to
> > a Beading) and Albert Camus's _The Stranger_ from the point of view of the
> > notion of the absurd, a term developed and theorized extensively by
> > existential philosophers, Camus in particular, and its direct connection
> > with, one the one hand, the mechanical aspects of human existence, and,
> > on the other, with their annihilation by means of the imagination and
> > the aesthetic dimension.
> > It is precisely the mechanical aspects of human life and
> > existence, the conventions and codes that govern man socially, that lead
> > to the element of the absurd and ultimately to the revolt of the
> > protagonist and his refuge in the aesthetic realm. As Camus poignantly
> > puts it in his _Myth of Sisyphus_, the human being "secretes an element of
> > inhumanity." He support his statement with the image of a man talking on
> > the telephone whose words are not heard: "on ne l'entend pas, mais on
> > voit sa mimique sans portee: on se demande poutquoi il vit." In fact, this
> > shocking divorce between gesture and meaning forms a good part of the
> > underlying structure of the two novels and an important source of comedy
> > in _Invitation to a Beaheading_.
> > In my paper I shall try to prove that this element of the absurd
> > which derives from human gestures and conventions devoid of substance and
> > turned mechanical is present in both novels, as is the liberation of the
> > protagonists into the imaginary, the poetic, the aaesthetic. Ultimately,
> > both Cincinnatus and Mersault overcome their death sentence by recreating
> > their lives in the days and moments preceding their executions.
> > -------------------------------------------------
> > 2.
Fated Freedoms: Nabokov and the Russian Tradition.
AATSEEL--Vladimir Nabokov Society
Stephen H. Blackwell
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

What is the role of fate in VN's works? Fate has a venerable history in
Russian literature; it resonates throughout the works of Pushkin,
Lermontov, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy, as well as in the writings of
Chaadaev, Berdiaev, and Vladimir Lossky, to give only a partial list. In
the present paper, I portray fate's embodiments in VN's fiction, both in
theme and in implication. Thematically, fate turns out to be extremely
flexible, appearing sometimes as predetermination (as in _Defense,
_Despair, _Lolita, and _Pale Fire), sometimes as an elusive
anthropomorphic partner in the creation of being (in _Gift, _Bend
Sinister, _Pale Fire, _Ada, _Transparent Things, _Invitation and _Pnin),
sometimes as a kind of pre-existing text or script (in _RLSK, _LATH,
Fire, _Ada and _Gift).
Fate in its strictest form is strongly analogous to written language;
fate brings with it connotations of "the end" individually, textually, or
cosmically. The (almost) necessarily fixed form of any published text
together with the fact that all published texts by definition "end"
suggest that all writing is inherently engaged in an exploration of
form. What today's pop culture might call "interactive fate"--manifest
Fyodor Godunov- Cherdyntsev's view of his romance with Zina--finds a
revealing analogy in the aesthetic moment, the act of creative artistic
reception. The third type of fate is a hybrid of the other two: while
itselfpre-existing (in the form of a text or a human
life) like a pre-written fate, the role of the text in shaping
the character's life is less like predetermination than it is like a map
or guidebook. In such situations, the script that guides the hero's
actions takes on the role of a consciously or semi-consciously
apprehended "other" which gives form and, to a certain extent, meaning to

the protagonist's life.
The specter of Fate as predetermination generates a variety of
strategic rejections. These appear in tricks to avoid narrative closure,
and also in ambiguity and paradox designed to prevent a work's meaning
from being finalized. In its other two forms--as invisible collaborator
and external script--VN finds a conceptual and metaphorical richness
congenial to his art. Suggestive neither of omnipotence nor of absence,
these models reach toward a new set of metaphors for representing what we
call reality. They de-emphasize positivism and knowability, without at
the same time discrediting science. Conjoined with Nabokov's fascination
with pattern, these figures represent an attempt to express hidden
textures in reality--but not necessarily to explain them. Many of VN's
novels imply that the reading act itself, analogously to interactive
is representative of a more textured understanding of reality.. We can
identify within VN's fiction a constant play with the theme; one might
even call it an aesthetics of fate, constituting an exploration of the
nature of humans' place within reality and the dimensions of human
freedom--a freedom which is never total, but neither is it ever totally
> >
> >
> > Gavriel Shapiro (Cornell)
> > <gs33@cornell.edu>
> >
> >
> > This paper discusses the role of divided and polysemantic allusions in
> > Nabokov's works. These devices imply a number of moves which the reader is
> > expected to make before finding the "solution." In this regard, the devices
> > resemble chess problems, crossword puzzles and charades, in composition of
> > which Nabokov was engaged throughout his creative life. The discussion is
> > illustrated with examples from Invitation to a Beheading and The Gift.
> >
> > -----------------------------------------------
> >
> >
> >
> > Anna Brodsky (Washington & Lee)
> > <brodsky.a@liberty.uc.wlu.edu>
> >
> >
> > My discussion will center on the Yasha Chernyshevsky episode in Nabokov's
> > THE GIFT. Nabokov links Yasha's homosexuality to his banality as a
> > would-be poet, so that he contrasts strikingly with the novel's hero,
> > Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev--a heterosexual, whose unclouded and lovingly
> > evoked family life suffuses his robust artistic "gift." The
> > dichotomizing of homo- and hetero-sexuality, between unhappy and happy
> > personal life, and between failed art and successful art, finds an echo
> > throughout THE GIFT in the hero's meticulous concern with personal
> > cleanliness--an interest in "purity" like that studied in Mary Douglas's
> > well-known book PURITY AND DANGER. Art, as presented in THE GIFT,
> > replicates the widespread cultural concern with safeguarding purity
> > against the "danger" posed by dirt--that is, anything that imperils a
> > culture's power to classify and order reality.
> >
> > Yasha's homosexuality is an impurity that Nabokov takes care to
> > distinguish cleanly from Fyodor, and thus to maintain the crystalline
> > "purity" of Fyodor's burgeoning art. I shall claim, however, that Nabokov
> > does not completely succeed in banishing the impurity, or in maintaining
> > the dichotomy. In a novel as close to the author's own life as THE GIFT
> > plainly is, we ought not to overlook Nabokov's anguished discovery of his
> > own brother Sergei's homosexuality. Yasha may well represent Nabokov's
> > artistic attempt to "purify" the Nabokov family's painful history in
> > order to make it a more suitable setting for the artist--Nabokov himself.
> > The need, however, to dichotomize so severely between the pure and the
> > impure is a weakness in Nabokov's conception of art in THE GIFT, and one
> > that he would overcome in later, more mature workds, most notably LOLITA.
> > ----------------------------------------------------
> >
> >
> > Marina Temkina (Independent Scholar)
> > Tel: 212 268-2878
> >
> > Vladimir Nabokov and Marcel Duchamp are both emblemaic figures of
> > European Modernism; both lived in the U.S. during and after WWII; both
> > worked "secretly" on the projects of their lives. It is not known whether
> > VN, who had hardly any interest in contemporary visual arts, heard of or
> > had a chance to see Duchamp's works in Europe. Duchamp worked and
> > displayed his art mostly in the U.S., especially after WWII, whereas in
> > Europe, and particularly in his native France, he became known to a
> > broader audience only in the 1960s. I am hoping to learn whether or not
> > Duchamp read LOLITA.
> > The secrecy of the creation of _LOLITA_ and _Etant donnes_ was
> > due to their shocking subject matter: the new idiom of sexuality. Both
> > works involve the intepretation of adult male "voirism." Both refer to
> > metaphors of Genesis with its basic constituents and the paradise (of
> > youth?)lost in the attempt to recreate a model of the adolescent female
> > body. I will elaborate on parallels in their visual/verbal narratives and
> > the psychoaesthetics of "articulating" a woman's nude body in Nabokov's
> > and Duchamp's works. _LOLITA_ and Etants donnes_ were the culminations
> > within the art of late Modernism and created representations of nostalgic
> > and traditionally gendered views in the quickly changing post-war setting.
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > -----------------------------------------------
> > In addition to the five papers at the AATSEEL VN panel, there are three
> > VN papers on other panels:
> >
> > 1. Maxim Shrayer's (Boston University) panel "Metaphysics & Sexuality" will
> > include his paper on "Sex and Nabokov's Otherworld." Sun. 29 Dec. 8-10AM
> >
> > 2. Lina Tselkova (Moscow): "The Family Idea in Nabokov's GIFT" in the
> > "Russian Emigre Literature Panel. Mon. 30 Dec. 8-10 AM.
> >
> > 3. Jacqueline Ladouceur (Yale); "Nabokov and the Languages of Parody."
> > Mon. 30 Dec. 1-3PM. Note, alas, that this conflicts with Anna Brodsky's
> > Nabokov Society Panel.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >