NABOKV-L post 0021091, Fri, 24 Dec 2010 19:20:57 -0800

The Transformation of Narrative: An Exploration of Alliteration’s Function in

Vladimir Nabokov’s Autobiography

By Rebecca Block


The following is a project that aims to achieve a greater understanding of

Vladimir Nabokov—the author, the man, his story, and his art—by bringing a greater

understanding to the relationship between these aspects of his life. In the end, it is an

attempt to honor his words. In the following pages, I intend to closely examine

Nabokov’s autobiography. In specific, I will focus questions that revolve around the

function that repetition may have played in the creative processes he employed to write

and revise that particular piece of work. Nabokov published three different English

language versions of the autobiography over the years, each time making edits to improve

the piece. Here, I will consider each to be a progressive “draft” of the work, comparing

them for any differences found between the three. More specifically, I will consider

alliteration as an example of repetition. In closely examining Nabokov’s use of

alliteration, I will analyze the both the role and the function it may have served in

assisting him to transform his autobiographical, narrative drafts. Throughout the project, I

will apply a psychoanalytic lens to the material in order to elucidate the workings of his

creative process in ways that may not have been so apparent without the benefit of such a

perspective. In doing so, I hope to achieve a deeper understanding of Nabokov’s creative

processes and the function that repetition may have served him in transforming a piece of

creative work.

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