Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000690, Fri, 25 Aug 1995 10:28:16 -0700

VN Bibliography: Blackwell
EDITORIAL NOTE: NABOKV-L would like to run abstracts of all
current dissertations on Nabokov. It would be much appreciated if those
of you who have recently completed dissertations would take a few minutes
to send in an abstract such as the one below. DBJ
CREATION. Slavic Dept., Indiana University, 1995.
Vladimir Nabokov's works are saturated with the author's concern
for his audience's response to them. The novels imply a complex and
detailed theory about the ethical and aesthetic value of the reading
activity in a work's overarching shape. Consequently, whenever one reads
a Nabokov novel, one becomes conscious of the author's efforts to render
the reading experience physically challenging, richly textures, and
ultimately rewarding.
In THE GIFT, this aspect of Nabokov's concern takes an especially
full shape. By writing a novel about a young author, Nabokov captured
artistically not only the spirit of literary activity in general, but also
dramatized in covert form the evolving relationship between the writer
and his audience. In THE GIFT, this audience receives direct metaphorical
representation, and its presence becomes an acknowledged shaping factor
in the novel's development and composition. The reader assumes a major
creative force within the novel itself. Because this personified reader
is also the protagonist's lover, and because the protagonist is the
concealed author of the entire novel, Nabokov's device proposes a strict
code for reading activity; he demands a love-like relationship between
reader and author. As a novel which presents its own reading
(artisticlly encoded), THE GIFT is able to raise its own interpretation to
a higher level of complexity.
Chapter One reviews the scholarship and explores Nabokov's
relationship to modern theorists of reading. Chapter Two examines
implicit theories of reading in Nabokokv's sources. Chapter Three
analyses the figure of the creative writer in THE GIFT. Chapter Four
outlines the structure of the novel's probable reception. Chapter Five
traces the theme of reading throug the novel. Chapter Six explores the
convergence of author, hero and reader in the trope of the boundary.