Vladimir Nabokov

Boyd, Brian and Marijeta Bozovic, eds. Nabokov Upside Down. 2017

Bibliographic title
Nabokov Upside Down
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Upside Down
Publication year


Brian Boyd: Introduction

Part 1 - Upside Down: Matter to Mind

Stephen H. Blackwell: Reflections on (and of) Trees in Nabokov

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney: Backward, Contrariwise, Downside Up: Thinking in Different Directions in Nabokov

Paul Benedict Grant: Belly and Brain, Mind and Matter: An Upside-Down Look at Nabokov’s Humor

Lara Delage-Toriel: Some Foodnotes to Nabokov’s Works

Monica Manolescu: “I Speak Like a Child”: Orality in Nabokov

Naomi Olson: Doubled Vision: Autoscopic Phenomena in Nabokov’s Fiction

Julian W. Connolly: Restoration or Regression? The Lure of the Past in Nabokov’s Fiction

Galya Diment: Masters and Servants: Upstairs and Downstairs in Nabokov

Dana Dragunoiu: On Pity and Courtesy in Nabokov’s Ethics

Part 2 - Right Way Round: Past to Future

Shun’ichiro Akikusa: Nabokov and Hearn: Where the Transatlantic Imagination Meets the Transpacific Imagination

Stanislav Shvabrin: “And If My Private Universe Scans Right . . .”: The Semantics of Meter in Nabokov’s Poetry—and Worldview

David Rampton: In Search of the Real Poet: Nabokov’s Pushkin Essay Revisited

Robert Alter: Nabokov for Those Who Hate Him: The Curious Case of Pnin

R. S. Gwynn: “My Poet’s Fiery Orb”: “Pale Fire” and Its Creative Context

Marijeta Bozovic: From Onegin to Ada: Nabokov and the Transnational Imperative

Yannicke Chupin: Turning the Myth Upside Down: From Humbert and Lo to Hubert and Flo, or, Reading the Particulars

Brian Boyd: Afterword


Nabokov Upside Down brings together essays that explicitly diverge from conventional topics and points of reference when interpreting a writer whose influence on contemporary literature is unrivaled. Scholars from around the world here read Nabokov in terms of bodies rather than minds, belly-laughs rather than erudite wit, servants rather than master-artists, or Asian rather than Western perspectives. The first part of the volume is dedicated to surveys of Nabokov’s oeuvre that transform some long-held assumptions concerning the nature of and significance of his work.

Often thought of as among the most cerebral of artists, Nabokov comes across in these essays as profoundly aware of the physical world, as evidenced by his masterly representation of physical movement, his bawdy humor, and his attention to gustatory pleasure, among other aspects of his writing. The volume’s second half focuses on individual works or phases in Nabokov’s career, noting connections among them as well as to other fields of inquiry beyond literature. Engaged in conversation with each other and, in his editorial comments, with Brian Boyd, the essays in this volume show Nabokov scholarship continuing to renew itself.