Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000040, Sun, 25 Jul 1993 15:03:14 -0700

VN at Koktebel: 1993
Nabokov at the Koktebel' Conference
June 1993

The Nabokov family spent the sixteen months from late November
1917 to April 1919 in the Crimea awaiting the outcome of revolution
and war. The young poet devoted much of his time to collecting butter-
flies and literary pursuits. He was fortunate in that Maximilian
Voloshin (1877-1932), "a cosmopolitan and highly erudite poet, art
critic, and painter" (Boyd, I, 149) lived in the resort area of Kok-
tebel where he maintained a boarding house for artists and poets.
Voloshin, who was given to radical metrical experimentation in his own
verse, introduced the young poet, very much a traditionalist, to the
intricate metrical theories of Symbolist Andrei Bely. Nabokov admired
both Voloshin and his work.
Voloshin's home near Koktebel', is now the site of the Voloshin
Museum. B. A. Gavrilov, the director of the museum, is the organizer
of the First World Congress on Russian Literature. The Congress, timed
to mark the centennial of Voloshin's artist colony, was held from
June 10 through June 17th, 1993.
Thanks to his stature in world literature and his connection with
Voloshin and the Crimea, Nabokov was the subject of the first day of
talks (June 12) which were grouped under the somewhat eccentric title,
"Vladimir Nabokov -- Russian Writer: ??? or !!!." The contents of the
printed program are given below. In fact, many of the listed papers
were not presented but are nevertheless given here for informational

1) S. Davydov (USA)---"V. Nabokov---`Visit to a Museum'"
2) G. Diment (USA)---"Nabokov's Dramaturgy"
3) L.F. Katsis (Moscow)---"In What Language is Nabokov's $Eugene
Onegin$ Commentary Written and in What Language Must It be Read?"
4) I.V. Levshin (Moscow)---"The Depicted (? narisovannaya -DBJ) Door:
Nabokov and Dali"
5) M.N Lipovetskii (Ekaterinburg)---"Nabokov's GIFT as the Epilogue
of Russian Modernism"
6) B.A. Lanin (Moscow)---"The Anti-Utopia in XXth Century Russian Lit-
erature: Zamyatin, Nabokov, Platonov"
7) S.A. Pavlinov (Moscow)---"Nabokov on Gogol"
8) O. Yu. Skonechnaya (Moscow)---"Andrei Bely as Reflected in Nabokov"
9) A.A. Galichenko (Alupka)---"Nabokov in the Crimea"
10) E.E. Gerasimova (Kiev)---"The Archetype of `The Fall' in Nabokov's
11) E.V. Ivanova (Moscow)---"`The Theme of Russia' and the Avantgarde
in Nabokov's Writings"
12) Yu. A. Arpishkin (Moscow)---"Nabokov and Evreinov: Two Conceptions
of Theatricalization"

Professor Galya Diment (University of Washington), who was the
only American scholar to speak on Nabokov, and who graciously sent
NABOKV-L the above program, reports that items 1,4,5,6,9 & 10 did not
transpire. There were, however, two unscheduled papers: 1) K.
Kedrov..."The Russian Classics as reflected in Nabokov", & 2) Irina
Bagrationi-Mukhraneli..."Nabokov on the Russian Stage".

Galya also sent me a copy of the LITERATURNAYA GAZETA's report on
the Congress. The account, from "special correspondent" Efim Bershin,
is entitled "Mountain Songs by the Pontus Euxinus" and may be found
on p. 3 of the issue for 23 June 1993 (No. 25 [5453]). The sourly
jocular tone of the report is surpassed only by its banality, lack of
information about the papers presented, and inaccuracies--at least as
far as the Nabokov actvities are concerned. After an extended intro-
ductory sneer at the chaos prevailing at the new Russian-Ukrainian
border, the pollution in the Black Sea, the rebellious navy, the
non-appearance of many delegates because the conference organizers had
been unable to pay their way, and the outrageous prices and massive
"defitsity" in the Crimean stores, the "neutral" reporter, Bershin,
more in sorrow than in anger, raises the traditional wail about "ivory
tower" literary scholars sticking their heads in the sand while the
world around them falls apart. Some sixty papers were presented, and
the journalist provides nothing more than a few titles and gener-
alities, along with praise for two papers that were not given. One can
only remark that LG wasted its money in sending Mr. Bershin to the
Professor Diment will offer her personal comments on the con-
ference in an accompanying message on NABOKV-L.