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Reviews 225 object of irony, an irony that unmasks his utter untrastworthiness (Unglaubwiirdigkeit). What Eskin means here are instances where the commentator 's own superior irony fails him, where his judgment becomes "serious" and loses its non-committal playfulness. In the translation itself, such lapses of textual control manifest themselves as inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and misunderstandings of the subtleties of English grammar and syntax (Eskin discusses at length Nabokov's inconsistent handling of the genitive case in English). By thus exposing both translation and commentary as inauthentic (semi-)fictions rather than author itative expository texts designed to convey objective "information," Nabokov's "version" of Evgenij Onegin seems to enjoy a rare insight into its own blindness or failure. Vadim Linetskii. "Anti-Bakhtin": luchshaia ¡cniga o Vladimire Nabokove. St. Petersburg, 1994. ["Anti-Bakhtin"—The Best Book about Vladimir Nabokov]. Review by Sunny Otake, University of Washington. This book is enormously broad in scope and the author's style is a bit hard to follow, with numerous asides and even asides which interrupt asides, and it is at times rather difficult to keep the thread of the argument from escaping one's grasp. Each chapter of Linetskii's book is ostensibly devoted to a different major theorist or idea, with the exception of the two forewords and the introduction . The first foreword is a case of damning with faint praise, while the second foreword is a quasi-romantic tribute to the author. The introduction is a self-laudatory overview of literary theory of the past decade. The first chapter consists of a comparison of Otchaianie and Dar, which are presented as literary doubles, the latter of which is found to be the more mature, complete , fully-fleshed out of the two. The author proposes that neither work is really about memory, because memory is always self-deconstractive. Rather, the real subject matter of both novels is an exploration of how deceptive memory can be. The second chapter is similar in structure and aim to the first. In it Transparent Things is read as a paraphrase of Priglashenie na kazn '. The message here (as proposed by Linetskii) is that the past manifests itself through memory or dream to destroy or at least attempt to destroy the hero. Both novels are found to be concerned primarily with the transparency of the physical world and the failure of messages to reach their audience. (The connection between these two points is unclear.) 226 Nabokov Studies In Chapter Three Linetskii finds Nabokov's hostility toward Freud to be perfectly understandable, owing to VN's narrow escape from a totalitarian regime. Linetskii draws a connection between Freudian theories and totalitarian regimes, arguing that the latter may be used to greatly facilitate the establishment of such regimes. He proposes that Nabokov must have reached the same conclusion, and that this explains his attitude. There follows a lengthy discussion of the implications of Freudian theories in relation to those of Derrida and Bataille. Coming back to Nabokov, Linetskii proposes that Nabokov employs frequent juxtapositions of anagrams with "monogramizatsia," and that it is these juxtapositions which give Priglashenie na kazn' the constant feeling of an objective truth which is about to be revealed to the reader. The narrator of The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, because he confuses "here" with "there," is said to have created a text which is situated "beyond the pleasure principle." Linetskii concludes that Nabokov's work in general, because of its frequent play with the concepts of "here" and "there," is situated "beyond the pleasure principle." The remaining chapters are much more concerned with major theorists than they are with Nabokov. Each purports to be a revolution in thinking about literature (with respect to the place of parody, for example, or in terms of theories of reading). Whether or not these chapters represent revolutions in critical theory I can't say, since I myself have only just begun to study theory. Certainly the chapter which claims to debunk Bakhtin completely presents nothing new; the criticisms of heteroglossia and carnival which Linetskii offers are the same as those which have been put forth elsewhere. The author is undoubtedly a devoted follower of Derridean theory, for his main approach...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9965
Print ISSN
1080-1219
Pages
pp. 225-226
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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