The essay focuses on one seemingly insignificant line in the delirium scene shortly before A.Ia.Chernyshevski's death in The Gift: "Boria might help Ð but then he might not." In the English translation the sentence is even less clear: "David might help - but then he might not." The main questions posed by the author of the article are: who is this Boria who never reappears in the text; why was he transformed into David; and how exactly can he help the dying hero? In The Gift David is mentioned only once Ð as the Biblical author of the psalms translated by N.G. Chernushevski, while the actual scene of delirium represents Nabokov's reshuffling of major motifs and quotations from various Davidian psalms. "Bore" is a paronomastic equivalent of the word "Creator" in Hebrew (the unknown book in Aramaic is conveniently mentioned in the delirium episode as well) and serves as a link between the divine Boria and David. As Leving suggests, both Boria and David are different interpretations of the same authorial figure: the God-Creator of the textual reality (or Nabokov himself, who is the only one capable of relieving the hero from his mundane suffering).
Decoding Delirium, or Who will help Chernyshevski?
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Online Journal