Chelsea Baumgarten’s (University of Illinois at Chicago) article, ‘The Free World of Timelessness’: Reimagining Time in Nabokov’s Pnin, explores Nabokov’s rejection of reductive, conventional understandings of time and examines the more compelling temporality he puts forth in Pnin. Revering individual perception’s uniqueness to an extent many critics overlook, Nabokov challenges the traditional view that reality and time are objective, absolute entities and conceptualizes them as subjective phenomena grounded in human experience instead. While this personal temporal framework allows for liberating resurrections and reconfigurations that objective time prohibits, it still oppresses the individual and involves loss. Consequently, Nabokov ultimately turns to the ideal timelessness of literary form – a sublime realm into which Timofey Pnin, the novel’s protagonist, finally escapes.
'The Free World of Timelessness': Reimagining Time in Nabokov’s Pnin
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Online Journal