Stringer-Hye, Suellen. Plexed Artistry: The Poetics of Data in ‘The Vane Sisters’. 2016

Bibliographic title
Plexed Artistry: The Poetics of Data in ‘The Vane Sisters’
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Online Journal
Periodical issue
v. 10
Publication year
Abstract

As Suellen Stringer-Hye (Vanderbilt University) asserts in her research, “Plexed Artistry: The Poetics of Data in ‘The Vane Sisters’,” patterns, textures, allusions, puzzles, anagrams, acrostics – these are the materials that Nabokov uses to construct his worlds. Using the mathematical graphing software Neo4j, Stringer-Hye has annotated the Nabokov story, “The Vane Sisters” in order to expose some hidden and visible connections that Nabokov employs to create not just the narrative but also the fabric of the tale. Noting that aspects of the story take place on multiple planes, we see how Nabokov uses this technique to point outside of the confines of the fictional story to the “real world” as we know it and then beyond to the “otherworld” which is both suspect and essential to the successful resolution of the story. The interplay of these elements cast light and shade, color and contrast to the narrative and evoke a sense of “beyondness”. The Neo4j query language Cypher, allows us to ask questions of the annotations and express the kaleidoscope of patterns that is the alchemy of the Vane Sisters.