Vladimir Nabokov

Dolinin, Alexander. Clippings and Excerpts as the Elements of Fiction: Nabokov-Vaginov-Tynianov. 2018

Bibliographic title
Clippings and Excerpts as the Elements of Fiction: Nabokov-Vaginov-Tynianov
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Online Journal
Periodical issue
v. 12
Publication year

Alexander Dolinin’s (University of Wisconsin-Madison) article, “Clippings and Excerpts as the Elements of Fiction: Nabokov-Vaginov-Tynianov,” collates quotations from newspapers, journals and other documentary sources in Nabokov’s novels (The Gift, Lolita, Pale Fire) and similar devices in Tynianov’s Death of the Vazir-Mukhtar and Vaginov’s Works and Days of Svistonov. Following Vaginov, whose protagonist, like Aunt Maud in Pale Fire, collects farcical newspaper clippings, Nabokov parodies and disparages Tynianov’s technique of deforming or deliberately misquoting sources. In contrast to Tynianov’s biographies, his “Life of Chernyshevsky” never goes against the documented historical facts but only adds some plausible vivid details to descriptions filling up lacunae. If Tynianov deforms his material in order to show that human fates are determined by invincible historical forces, Nabokov rejects historicism and interprets the individual fate as a kind of artistic creation.