This chapter explores the evolution of Nabokov’s engagement with the sense of taste, or more frequently distaste, by zooming in on its literal source—that of the mouth. By focusing in particular on two early Russian novels, King, Queen, Knave and Despair, it examines the ways in which Nabokov utilized disgusting images and forms to explore and experiment with a more avant-garde and radical set of aesthetics. It also examines the way in which Nabokov frequently played with and subverted the aversive impulse by drawing out the natural dualism that exists between disgust and desire, where that which repels can simultaneously also be perceived as irresistibly attractive. These experiments are then contextualized against a burgeoning movement towards an aesthetics of disgust that was simultaneously occurring within Modernism, and in the work of the French surrealists in particular.
Tolstoy, Anastasia. "I’d like to Taste the Inside of Your Mouth": The Mouth as Locus of Disgust in Nabokov’s Fiction. 2020
"I’d like to Taste the Inside of Your Mouth": The Mouth as Locus of Disgust in Nabokov’s Fiction
Periodical or collection
The Five Senses in Nabokov's Works