Creative Tributes to Nabokov

This new category invites readers to send in their own creative tributes to Nabokov, in any medium, or to bring to the notice of other Nabokovians tributes that you have discovered.


The first of these is the story by David M. Rubin, "Symbols, Signs, and Saints," a fictional response to Nabokov's story "Signs and Symbols," around which we organized a Flash Contest, announced on January 20, 2022, with a $50 prize to the first person to solve the key riddle about "Sings and Symbols" embedded in David Rubin's story.  

The winner, Pelagia Hogan, responded that same day with an eloquent explanation of the riddle in Rubin's tribute and a tribute of her own to Nabokov's story, which she has let us post on the website.


Barbara Bloom (1951- ) is a conceptual artist who has often worked on Nabokov. In 1999, in conjunction with New York bookseller Glenn Horowitz's sale of many of Nabokov's books inscribed to Véra, she staged a splendid exhibition with a variety of tributes to Nabokov, including carpets made from images of Nabokov's copies of the Olympia Press first edition of Lolita, one reproducing his pencil markings on the cover indicating page numbers where corrections were needed, another a clean copy of volume 2. She "issued" a sheet of Nabokov postage stamps; she devised a computer program to imitate Nabokov's handwriting, and printed fake manuscript index cards; she had an installation around Speak, Memory with successive levels of glass or perspex over sections of the text, mimicking the layering and occlusions of memory; and much, much more. 

She continues to work on Nabokov, as in these installations and exhibitions: The Collections of Barbara Bloom, 2008, and  Nabokov's Collection, 2020. As the former of these notes, "An example of one of her 'collections' is a complete set of Vladimir Nabokov's writings, with all the book covers redesigned by Bloom. This refers not only to herself as collector, and Nabokov as collector (he obsessively collected his own books), but herself as artist."


Kathryn Jacobi is a painter, printmaker, and photographer who produced these etchings  to commemorate the centennial celebrations of Nabokov's birth at the Cornell University Library. The etchings are inspired by Nabokov's novel Invitation to a Beheading.


J. Morris is a poet whose work has appeared in the 2018 collection Someone Is Breathing. J. Morris wrote a poem to celebrate the centenary of Nabokov's birth. The poem appeared originally in The Formalist.


Eric Vanderwall is a musician and his two solo albums are available on all major streaming and download services. "The Darkbloom Affair, Part III" is a collection of responses to, extensions of, and reimagined scenes from Lolita. It is a selection from a larger collection written for a course on Lolita at the University of Chicago, where Eric is completing a graduate degree. He is currently working on a novel.


Matthew Roth has been an active member of the IVNS since 2006. His scholarly work, mainly focused on Pale Fire, includes the first major study of the Pale Fire manuscript and numerous other articles, notes, and annotations. He serves as the Associate Editor for Reviews for the Nabokov Online Journal. He is also the author of one book of poetry (Bird Silence, 2009) and teaches Literature and Creative Writing at Messiah University, in Grantham, Pennsylvania. He has written two poems to commemorate Nabokov's birthday: “Sonnet Nabokov: Hummingbird Moths” and "Nabokov Dying: A Golden Shovel." The former was first published in ThinkA Journal of Poetry, Fiction, and Essays. The latter is unpublished.