Juxtaposing the opening of The Gift's second chapter with Speak, Memory's account of Nabokov's first poem and Lolita's couch scene reveals a surprising set of similarities. A preliminary study of these common points leads to some intriguing linkages and contradictions among Nabokov's roles as writer of fiction, autobiography, self-parody, and criticism. It also provides a new data set to be examined in light of the currently dominant critical paradigm, revises Nabokov's relations to other artists, and may even lead to consequences for his aesthetic theory.


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