Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Preface and Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xvi

This book explores the pivotal role of memory in Vladimir Nabokov’s novels, stories, and autobiographical writings, focusing on the period from 1925 to 1950, but offering glimpses of later developments. At the same time it emphasizes how these narratives intersect with early twentieth-century modernism as an international movement. ...

Note on Citations

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xvii-xviii

Part One: Points of Departure

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-2

read more

1. The European Nabokov, the Modernist Moment, and Cultural Biography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 3-23

The European Nabokov remains an enigma. Readers throughout the English-speaking world remember the author of Lolita, of course, and how he burst onto the literary scene in the late 1950s. During the cultural ferment of the next decade, this retired professor, heavyset and genial in appearance yet holding acerbic literary opinions, became a name to conjure with. ...

read more

2. The Self-Defined Origins of an Artist of Memory

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 24-51

"How did it begin with you?" This invitation to describe the sources of one's creativity appears in Nabokov's last Russian novel, The Gift, written in the mid-1930s. It is directed at the artist-hero Fyodor, during an imaginary dialogue with Koncheyev, another aspiring writer he admires but barely knows. ...

read more

3. The Rejection of Anticipatory Memory: From Mary to The Defense and Glory (1925–1930)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 52-70

In The Gift Nabokov retrospectively located an origin for his mnemonic art. Modernity and memory come together in a primal experience of synesthesia, and eventually he builds on this moment to create the cluster of images that he associates with his very identity as a writer. ...

Part Two: Toward France

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 71-72

read more

4. Encountering French Modernism: Kamera Obskura (1931–1932)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 73-90

During the early and mid-1930s Nabokov passed through a period of remarkable, even explosive, creativity. Foreshadowed in May of 1930 by the semifantastic psychological novella The Eye, it began in earnest after Glory when he wrote Kamera Obskura (1931–1932), Despair (1932–1933), and Invitation to a Beheading (1934) in quick succession. ...

read more

5. From the Personal to the Intertextual: Dostoevsky and the Two-Tiered Mnemonic Systemin Despair (1932–1933)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 91-109

Nabakov wrote Despair right after Kamera Obskura, at an interval so close that excerpts from the two books came out simultaneously in late 1932. But this novel, as if reacting against the stark externality of its predecessor, gives a much larger role to memory. ...

read more

6. Narrative between Art and Memory: Writing and Rewriting “Mademoiselle O” (1936–1967)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 110-129

In 1936, when "Mademoiselle O" first appeared in the French literary magazine Mesures, it marked a double breakthrough in Nabokov's art of memory. Not only was it his first avowedly autobiographical work, but by being written in French it was also the fullest expression to date of his European cultural identity. ...

read more

7. Memory, Modernism, and the Fictive Autobiographies

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 130-156

More than a decade would pass before Nabokov proceeded to turn "Mademoiselle O" into a full-fledged autobiography. In that period his circumstances changed dramatically: not only did he move from Germany to France and then to the United States, but he settled on English rather than French as his new literary language, to replace Russian. ...

Part Three: In English

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 157-158

read more

8. Cultural Mobility and British Modernism: The Real Life of Sebastian Knight and Bend Sinister (1938–1946)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 159-177

The Gift was Nabokov's last Russian novel, though he continued to write in Russian after 1937. Several stories and plays appeared in the later 1930s, and in the early 1940s two chapters from the never-finished novel Solus Rex; during this period he also found a new vitality as a Russian poet. ...

read more

9. Autobiographical Images: The Shaping of Speak, Memory (1946–1967)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 178-202

After finishing Bend Sinister in May 1946, Nabokov went back to the project begun with "Mademoiselle O" a decade earlier. From January 1948 to January 1951 he published fourteen more autobiographical sketches, mostly in The New Yorker, which concentrated on his boyhood and youth in Russia and then moved more quickly through his European years. ...

read more

10. The Cultural Self-Consciousness of Speak, Memory

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 203-218

True to Nabokov's initial plan of portraying "many different lands and peoples," Speak, Memory covers a much wider range of cultural experiences than "Mademoiselle O." Simply because it records so many aspects of Nabokov's passage from Russia through Europe to the United States, it must give much more attention to situations of multiplicity. ...

read more

Epilogue: Proust over T. S. Eliot in Pale Fire (1962)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 219-232

In the fifteen years between the two English versions of his autobiography, Nabokov finally confronted the rival vision of modern literature he had avoided at Cambridge in the early 1920s. His growing awareness of key differences between his own art of memory and T. S. Eliot's high modernism, by then dominant in the Anglo-American literary world, ...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 233-254

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 255-260