Vladimir Nabokov

Inaugural Nabokov Online Seminar (NOSE) and subsequent NOSE events

By dana_dragunoiu, 21 March, 2023

From Matt Roth, organizer of NOSE:

I am sending this message to remind my fellow Nabokovians of upcoming deadlines and events.

  1. Please see the Call for Participants below, including a new panel idea (#6) from Beth Sweeney, for which you should contact her directly (for all others, contact me). The official deadline is this Friday, March 26, though if you can’t make that deadline, you should still submit whenever you can.
  2. Our first NOSE will be held on Tuesday, March 28 at 1:00 PM (New York) on Zoom. This Close Reading Roundtable will feature six Nabokovians presenting on favorite sentences or short passages. The Zoom link for this event is https://messiah.zoom.us/j/99024545350
  3. I’m happy to announce that our second NOSE event will held on May 16 at 9:30 AM (New York) and will be an Author Spotlight, in which Julie Loison-Charles will present on her recently published book, Vladimir Nabokov as an Author-Translator. Stanislav Shvabrin will introduce Julie and lead a conversation about the book following Julie’s presentation. Zoom link to come.

If you have any questions or want to share ideas for future seminars, please always feel free to contact me at mroth@messiah.edu.

All the best,

Matt Roth


Call for Participants for Nabokov Online Seminars

Those interested in presenting on the following topics should contact Matthew Roth at mroth@messiah.edu. Please include a brief statement outlining your proposed approach to the topic you have chosen. Deadline: 26 March 2023


  1. Nabokov and the Other: We invite presentations on the ‘Other’ in Nabokov’s works, exploring identities of secondary characters in the context of race, ethnicity, disability, gender, and/or sexual identity, discussing how they are used or appropriated in the text, and their dynamic with the authorial self or protagonist. 2 or 3 presenters (Proposal by Anoushka Alexander-Rose)
  2. Ludic Allusions: Nabokov and the Art of Gamesmanship: While Nabokov’s use of chess has been widely acknowledged and studied, other forms of games have garnered less attention. We invite presentations that consider instances of these allusions in particular novels or stories; proposed solutions to games; roles of characters in the game; the figurative meaning of games; the author/reader as ludic opponents; the relationship between problems and solutions, etc. 2 or 3 presenters (Proposal by Mary Ross)
  3. Characters on the Edge: Nabokov’s characters often inhabit a borderland between two states of consciousness. In stories and novels like “Details of a Sunset,” “Perfection,” “Terra Incognita,” The Eye, Pale Fire, and many others, Nabokov places his characters on a knife’s edge between life and death, sanity and madness, identity and dissolution, subject and object. We invite presentations focusing on these liminal spaces and the characters who inhabit them. Presentations may focus on a particular work, patterns that appear across multiple works, authorial strategies, readerly quandaries, etc. 2 or 3 presenters (Proposal by Matthew Roth)
  4. Nabokov in the Archives: As access has opened up to Nabokov scholars over the past two decades, we have seen a burgeoning interest in archival materials. We invite presentations that explore the problems and opportunities that arise when working with unpublished works, drafts, notes, diaries, letters, fragments, and other items. Presentations may address the various purposes of archival research, highlight particular discoveries, or speak to unique challenges that confront the Nabokovian who enters into this field of study. 2 or 3 presenters (Proposal by Olga Voronina)
  5. Short Story Roundtable:  Three presenters, one story. All approaches welcome (15 minutes each with time for responses). First proposed story: “La Veneziana”
  6. Bit Parts and Minor Characters in Nabokov: In Lolita, Humbert muses that "We would prefer not to have known at all our neighbor, the retired hot-dog stand operator, if it turns out he has just produced the greatest book of poetry his age has seen." Nevertheless, Nabokov's oeuvre is filled with such minor characters, understudies, walk-on roles, cameos, and extras who are surprisingly significant even if they may not appear in the credits. We invite brief presentations on unsung heroes, human or not, in any of Nabokov's works. If you are interested, contact Susan Elizabeth "Beth" Sweeney at ssweeney@holycross.edu.