Vladimir Nabokov

Blackwell, Stephen H. Nabokov's Secret Trees. 2024

Bibliographic title
Nabokov's Secret Trees
Publisher, city
Publication year
In nearly all his literary works, Vladimir Nabokov inscribed networks of trees to create meaningful patterns of significance around one or more of his passionate interests – in consciousness, memory, creativity, epistemology, ethics, and love, with a deep connection to nature serving as a constant undercurrent. Nabokov’s Secret Trees explores this neglected area of his art, one that positions nature as a hidden but vital core of his work. The book presents an entirely new, previously unsuspected Nabokov, one who crafts intricate patterns of arboreal imagery lurking behind his often-baroque psychological narratives. It reveals how Nabokov activates arboreal potentials by exploring the hidden ubiquity of trees, their essence as complex natural phenomena, and their role as quiet presences that have accompanied and fostered human civilization and art since their beginnings. The book uncovers how trees offer a rich and intricate field for structural, semantic, allusive, and metaphorical exploration. Based on the published corpus as well as archival materials, Nabokov’s Secret Trees demonstrates that trees not only populate Nabokov’s art in stunning, yet furtive, abundance, but also as mysterious natural entities, directly animating his works’ worlds and his readers’ experience of them.