Khrushcheva, Nina L. Death is but a Question of Style. 2007

Bibliographic title
Death is but a Question of Style
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Online Journal
Periodical issue
v. 1
Publication year

The essay aims to gain an understanding of Vladimir Nabokov's works that go beyond the printed word. Khrushcheva made a trip to Montreux, Switzerland, where the writer resided in the Montreux Palace hotel from 1962 until his death in 1977. "Death is But a Question of Style" is an imagined conversation with the bronze statue of Nabokov which was placed in the Palace lobby for his centennial. During this dialogue, Nabokov's authorial ghost revealed that his English-language novels were in essence a rewrite of nineteenth-century Russian literature. Focusing on individuality, not typicality, he brought the traditional Russian characters into "modernity" where the emphasis was not on personal misery or communal life, but on forging an individual "happy" destiny. Russia today faces a similar challenge, leaving behind its communist past in an attempt to integrate into a "Western" world dominated by capitalism and individual initiative.