Vladimir Nabokov

Nabokov's Women: The Silent Sisterhood of Textual Nomads, edited by Elena Rakhimova-Sommers

By dana_dragunoiu, 13 October, 2018

Dear colleagues,

I’m happy to announce the publication of my new volume,

Rakhimova-Sommers, Elena, ed. Nabokov's Women: The Silent Sisterhood of Textual Nomads (Lanham, MD: Roman & Littlefield, 2017).

Below and attached you can find: a list of contributors, a brief description, a table of contents, links to the publisher’s site, and a cover proof.


CONTRIBUTORS (in order of introduction and book chapters):

Elena Rakhimova-Sommers, Sofia Ahlberg, Alisa Zhulina, Matthew Roth, Elena Rakhimova-Sommers, David Rampton, Marie Bouchet, David H. J. Larmour, Julian W. Connolly, Olga Voronina, Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, and Lara Delage-Toriel. 



Nabokov’s Women: The Silent Sisterhood of Textual Nomads is the first book-length study to focus on Nabokov’s relationship with his heroines. Essays by distinguished Nabokov scholars explore the multilayered and nomadic nature of Nabokov’s lovers, witches, muses, mermaids, and nymphets: their voice and voicelessness, their absentness, the paradigm of power and sacrifice within which they are situated, the paradox of their unattainability, their complex relationship with textual borders, the travel narrative, and with the author himself.

   By design, Nabokov’s woman is often assigned a short-term tourist visa with a firm expiration date. Her departure is facilitated by death or involuntary absence, which watermarks her into the male protagonist’s narrative, granting him an artistic release or a gift of self-understanding. When she leaves the stage, her portrait remains ambiguous. She can be powerfully enigmatic, but not self-actualized enough to be dynamic or, for even where the terms of her existence are deeply considered or her image beheld reverently, her recognition seems to be limited to the “Works Cited” register of the male narrator’s personal life. As a result, Nabokov’s texts often feature a nomadic woman who seems to live without a narratorial homeland, papers of her own, or storytelling privileges.
    This volume explores the “residency status” of Nabokov’s silent nomads—his fleeting lovers, witches, muses, mermaids, and nymphets. As Nabokov scholars analyze the power dynamic of the writer’s narrative of male desire, they ponder—are these female characters directionless wanderers or covert operatives in the terrain of Nabokov’s text? Whereas each essay addresses a different aspect of Nabokov’s artistic relationship with the feminine, together they explore the politics of representation, authorization, and voicelessness. This collection offers new ways of reading and teaching Nabokov and is poised to appeal to a wide range of student and scholarly audiences. 




Nabokov’s Passportless Wanderer: A Study of Nabokov’s Woman 

Elena Rakhimova-Sommers


Chapter One

Via Dolores: The Passage of the Feminine as Contraband in Nabokov’s Fiction

Sofia Ahlberg

Chapter Two

Queen Sacrifice: The Feminine Figure of Power and Nabokov’s Strategy of Loss

Alisa Zhulina

Chapter Three

A Small Mad Hope: Pale Fire, Hazel Shade, and the Oedipal Disaster

Matthew Roth

Chapter Four

Nabokov’s Mermaid: “Spring in Fialta” 

Elena Rakhimova-Sommers


Chapter Five

Jealously Guarded Secrets: Nabokov’s Women and the Vicissitudes of Desire

David Rampton

Chapter Six

The Text(ure) of Desire: The Garments and Ornaments of Nabokov’s Maidens

Marie Bouchet

Chapter Seven

Reading the Woman on the Train 

David H. J. Larmour


Chapter Eight

Hearing the Female Voice in Vladimir Nabokov’s Fiction 

Julian W. Connolly

Chapter Nine

“The Fascination of Pebbles”: Fictional Lives of Véra Nabokov

Olga Voronina

Chapter Ten

Nabokov in an Evening Gown 

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney

Chapter Eleven

Speak, Mademoiselle: Nabokov's Authorial Posture Revisited  

Lara Delage-Toriel