Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics

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Yale University Press, Oct 1, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 256 pages
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Vladimir Nabokov’s “Western choice”—his exile to the West after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution—allowed him to take a crucial literary journey, leaving the closed nineteenth-century Russian culture behind and arriving in the extreme openness of twentieth-century America. In Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics, Nina L. Khrushcheva offers the novel hypothesis that because of this journey, the works of Russian-turned-American Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977) are highly relevant to the political transformation under way in Russia today. Khrushcheva, a Russian living in America, finds in Nabokov’s novels a useful guide for Russia’s integration into the globalized world. Now one of Nabokov’s “Western” characters herself, she discusses the cultural and social realities of contemporary Russia that he foresaw a half-century earlier.

 

In Pale Fire; Ada, or Ardor; Pnin; and other works, Nabokov reinterpreted the traditions of Russian fiction, shifting emphasis from personal misery and communal life to the notion of forging one’s own “happy” destiny. In the twenty-first century Russia faces a similar challenge, Khrushcheva contends, and Nabokov’s work reveals how skills may be acquired to cope with the advent of democracy, capitalism, and open borders.

 

 

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Imagining Nabokov: Russia between art and politics

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In the first chapter of this learned meditation on one of the great writers of the twentieth century, Khruscheva fictionalizes a conversation with Nabokov, stringing together quotes from his oeuvre ... Read full review

Khrushchev vs Nabokov

User Review  - Xenia - Borders

Imagining Nabokov is one of those history's witty jokes: the cold war is over, and the author proves her great-granddad kitchen debates wrong--she falls in love with the most anti-communist dissident ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Imagining Nabokov
43
On the Way to the Author
80
Poet Genius and Hero
116
Nabokov as the Pushkin of the Twentyfirst Century
182
The End
193
NOTES
205
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
233
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About the author (2008)

Nina L. Khrushcheva is associate professor of international affairs, International Affairs Program, The New School, New York. The great-granddaughter of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, she now lives in New York City.

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