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


Imagining Nabokov
On the Way to the Author
Poet Genius and Hero
Nabokov as the Pushkin of the Twentyfirst Century
The End

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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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