Nabokov: The Mystery of Literary Structures
Vladimir Nabokov described the literature course he taught at Cornell as "a kind of detective investigation of the mystery of literary structures." Leona Toker here pursues a similar investigation of the enigmatic structures of Nabokov's own fiction. According to Toker, most previous critics stressed either Nabokov's concern with form or the humanistic side of his works, but rarely if ever the two together. In sensitive and revealing readings of ten novels, Toker demonstrates that the need to reconcile the human element with aesthetic or metaphysical pursuits is a constant theme of Nabokov's and that the tension between technique and content is itself a key to his fiction. Written with verve and precision, Toker's book begins with Pnin and follows the circular pattern that is one of her subject's own favored devices.
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aesthetic agent X Albinus Albinus's Alfyorov Alfyorov's artist average reality beautiful Beheading Bend Sinister cancels chapter character Chernyshevski chess problem Cincinnatus Coalmont consciousness Dark Darwin death Defense discussion Dmitri Nabokov Dolly Dolly's door dream Dreyer dystopia element emigre emotional English episode Eugene Onegin experience eyes fate father feeling fictional world foreword Franz Fyodor Ganin Gift Glory human Humbert imagination Invitation involute King Knave Krug Krug's Laughter literary Lolita Luzhin Margot Martha Mary meaning memories metaphor metaphysical moral motif mysterious Nabokov's novels Nabokovian narrative narrator narrator's never novelist Paduk pain Pale Fire parody pattern Pnin Pnin's Podtyagin poem Poems and Problems protagonist Queen quest reader relationship Russian scene Schopenhauer Sebastian Knight seems sense story structure suggests symbolic sympathy technique theme things thought tion trans translation Transparent Things turns Vane Sisters Vladimir Nabokov words Worlds in Regression writing