Vladimir Nabokov

Desyatov, Vyacheslav. Parasite in Paradise: Mayakovsky's 'The Bedbug' under Nabokov's Magnifier. 2007

Bibliographic title
Parasite in Paradise: Mayakovsky's 'The Bedbug' under Nabokov's Magnifier
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Online Journal
Periodical issue
v. 1
Publication year

In Russian.


The essay studies the echoes of Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky's futuristic play "The Bedbug" in his namesake's writings, such as Invitation to a BeheadingLolita, and Look at the Harlequins!. Protagonists of both "The Bedbug" and Invitation to a Beheading walk away in their respective finales beyond the world of theatricals props Ð just to discover an existence of another kind of reality. The Russian version of Lolita contains an exact citation from Mayakovsky's satirical play Ð "a staggering parasite" (porazitel'nyi parazit). Nabokov inserts the Russian word klop("bedbug") into the text of Look at the Harlequins! Connecting it to the image of the Leninist revolutionary Charlie Everett/Karl Vetrov. As Desyatov suggests, "The Bedbug" is one of the Soviet poet's works that most frequently attracted the professional entomologist in Nabokov.