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Reviews 229 Eye as being "less the narrating of a plot than the expounding of ideas" (50) appears problematic in the context of Nabokov's aversion to novels of ideas. Moreover, the interpretation of Yasha's suicide as fulfilling his artistic urge (in The Gift) fails to mention Fyodor's concept of art and life and thus does not consider the role of irony and parody. A study of madness, death, and disease in Nabokov's fiction demands meticulous analyses of details and their interrelation. Unfortunately, thematically connected studies such as Vladimir Alexandrov's Nabokov's Otherworld (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1991) and Christopher HüUen's Der Tod im Werk Vladimir Nabokovs: Terra Incognita (Munich: Sagner, 1990) do not occur in the bibliography or in the discussion. A definition of madness would profit from including the question of who defines aberrations—an idea hinted at in the discussion of the oppressive societies in Invitation to a Beheading and Bend Sinister. As Allan's remarks on banality show, "society in general" does not serve as a measuring rod for Nabokov's ethics, but the majority rather represents a faceless mass of underdeveloped persons who have not yet explored the danger and beauty of an individual's consciousness and mind. Ultimately, some readers will expect to arrive at "a clearer understanding of Nabokov's world as a whole" (1) by acknowledging and illuminating the intricacies of the writer's fiction, thus delighting in the specific characteristics of each work. Christopher Hüllen. Der Tod im Werk Vladimir Nabokovs: Terra Incognita. [Death in Vladimir Nabokov's Œuvre: Terra Incognita.] Arbeiten und Texte zur Slavistik48. Ed. Wolfgang Kasack. Munich: Otto Sagner, 1990. 254 pp. Review by Nassim Berdjis, University of California, Davis. Christopher Hüllen devotes one fourth of his study on the role and depiction of death in Vladimir Nabokov's works to a detailed account of scholarly criticism from Nabokov's émigré years up until 1989. This helpful account falls into five phases which reflect dominant critical views of different times and places as well as shifts with regard to works that have constituted centers of attention. During the first phase (1922-1940), Hüllen reviews Nabokov's Paris reception, especially in his discussion of émigré publications such as criticism by Georgij Adamovich, Vladislav Khodasevich, and Gleb Strove, thus presenting German summaries and analyses of sources that would otherwise be unknown to a non-Russian reader of German. Hüllen entitles the second phase of Nabokov criticism "Obscurity and Reduction to a Monolingual Writer (1940-1955)" and describes him as a comparatively unknown writer 230 Nabokov Studies in the U.S. until the scandal about Lolita. In their reviews of his English novels, American critics provided biographical information, yet disregarded Nabokov's Russian works, and his volume with translations of Russian poetry was not reviewed. The early 1950s set the stage for Russian book publications of criticism and memoirs by other Russian émigrés which included reviews of Nabokov's Russian (and, seldomly, English) works as well as of his study on Gogol'. Hüllen examines as the third phase of criticism (1955-1966) the "Americanization" of Nabokov after Lolita. The novel's success led to reprints of earlier English novels and of English translations of Russian novels which were often reviewed through the perspective of the Lolita-reader, thus Americanizing his originally Russian works by focusing on their English translations and by treating them as (genuinely English language) pie-Lolita novels. The mid-1960s witnessed a shift from reviews to scholarly publications on Nabokov's work, thus leading to the fourth phase: "Escape into Aesthetics?—The Development towards a Predominantly Scholarly Reception (1966-1977)." Studies published towards the end of the 1960s aimed at finding underlying similarities among works, while criticism made available between 1970 and 1977 focused on form ("artifice"/"priem") in Nabokov's works. The fifth phase of criticism (1977-1989) comprised attempts to break away from earlier approaches and to tackle the question whether Nabokov was primarily an aesthete, a humanist, or both. Hüllen describes a movement away from regarding Nabokov as merely an aesthete. Nabokov research greatly profited from M. Juliar's 1986 bibliography and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9965
Print ISSN
1080-1219
Pages
pp. 229-233
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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