Isabelle Poulin’s (Bordeaux Montaigne University) paper, “The map on the belly, or the animal side of History in Nabokov’s work,” intends to shed light on the way Nabokov charts the barbarity of his time. She is starting from a detail—that of a dog laying down on its back as its master approaches, “showing its pink underbelly, covered with gray maplike spots”, in the Russian short story Zvuki [Sounds]. History apprehension through devasted or lost places allows to articulate exile and political animality, in other words: to bear the traces of pain in memory. The figure of the dog, caught in a vast network of suffering animals present in the whole narrative work of Nabokov, is emblematic of a very strong consciousness of history related to ecological issues – like all uprooted people the bilingual writer knew perfectly well what it meant to lose the world.
The map on the belly, or the animal side of History in Nabokov’s work
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Online Journal