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Nabokov Studies 4 (1997) Reviews Nassim Winnie Berdjis. Imagery in Vladimir Nabokov's Last Russian Novel (Dar), Its English Translation (The Gift), and Other Prose Works. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1995. Review by Priscilla Meyer. The book, Berdjis's dissertation, details die imagery in Nabokov's works through The Gift in both their original Russian and their English translations. The Introduction gives a summary of each work witii the data of its composition and publication, using Michael Juliar's, Jane Grayson's and Brian Boyd's work and quoting Nabokov's forewords to his English translations; it also provides a five-page chart which might have been sufficient. The following eight chapters examine specific imagery by theme: Metamorphoses, Language Games, The Development of Artistic Talent, The Power of Vision, Art and Nature, Numbers, Forms and Ideology, and Religion. The themes encompass sets of from three to twelve topics, which are followed through Nabokov's works, in chronological order. An overview of Nabokov's themes emerges from the compilation of tiiese many images. The role of language in defining a character's artistic perception of the world and hence "the status of a fictional character's personality" (182) may be applied to everything Nabokov ever wrote. The least investigated tiieme to emerge is religion, which scholars have been hesitant to explore because of Nabokov's strong opinions on the subject. The material Berdjis marshals seems sufficient to suggest that Nabokov has a religious view of the universe, which 238 Nabokov Studies the summarizing paragraph interprets with delicate accuracy: "Nabokov's imagery stresses the alternatives of gaining detailed knowledge of nature and of appreciating art intellectually and emotionally in a way that grants hints at the presence of the divine" (370). Berdjis has done a huge amount of work cataloguing images. For some instances she provides some interpretation of their meaning, but she has generally chosen to cover the ground rather than to examine the implications of her data. The book would benefit from more of the kind of synthesis provided at the conclusion of section seven. Chapter two has a useful summarizing chart (102-110), but the remaining chapters for some reason do not. This is a problem because the index lists works but not images, so that the book resembles an unalphabetized dictionary. It contains a mine of (inaccessible) raw material, but even the Conclusion summarizes the accumulated data more than it analyzes it: "The above analysis shows that Nabokov's last Russian novel, DarlThe Gift, and his other prose works written during the same period incorporate a multitude of images" (371). Some catalogues are curiously incomplete. For example, the section on Despair under "telling names" discusses Ardalion (ardor lion) (163) but not Felix Wohlfahrt (literally "happy prosperity"). The section on puns is very valuable, though "mystic" reviews only what the text gives (mist, mistake, stick) and not the crucial implied pun, "missed stick" (172). Section 6.9 on mirrors is seven pages long but could have been the subject of an entire book. Berdjis reviews the criticism of Jakobson's opposition between metaphor and metonymy in her introduction, but that discussion seems unnecessary to what follows. Perhaps more germane is the line between imagery and motif which is difficult to draw in Nabokov's work, and Berdjis's method of selection is not always clear. She traces rainbows but does not connect them to iridescence or Iris; the section on sounds and Reviews 239 colors (2.1.4) does not mention specific color motifs (a topic that would provide material for another book). Keys, doors, windows and chinks are crucial images in The Gift that could have been readily accommodated under Prisons (4.7) or Life and Death (8.4). The dissertation provides material towards a book that could trace one related constellation of images through a body of Nabokov's work, preferably from beginning to end, or alternatively , that would provide tiiorough interpretation of some portion of the existing material. If the dissertation were available on disk it would be a very valuable tool: Berdjis's careful work provides material for years of Nabokov scholarship. Boris Nosik. Mir I Dar Nabokova. Pervaia Russkaia Biografiia Pisatelia [Boris Nosik...