Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics

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Vladimir Nabokov’s “Western choice”―his exile to the West after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution―allowed him to take a crucial literary journey, leaving the closed nineteenth-century Russian culture behind and arriving in the extreme openness of twentieth-century America. In Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics, Nina L. Khrushcheva offers the novel hypothesis that because of this journey, the works of Russian-turned-American Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977) are highly relevant to the political transformation under way in Russia today. Khrushcheva, a Russian living in America, finds in Nabokov’s novels a useful guide for Russia’s integration into the globalized world. Now one of Nabokov’s “Western” characters herself, she discusses the cultural and social realities of contemporary Russia that he foresaw a half-century earlier.

 

In Pale Fire; Ada, or Ardor; Pnin; and other works, Nabokov reinterpreted the traditions of Russian fiction, shifting emphasis from personal misery and communal life to the notion of forging one’s own “happy” destiny. In the twenty-first century Russia faces a similar challenge, Khrushcheva contends, and Nabokov’s work reveals how skills may be acquired to cope with the advent of democracy, capitalism, and open borders.

 

 

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About the Author:

Nina L. Khrushcheva is associate professor of international affairs, International Affairs Program, The New School, New York. The great-granddaughter of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, she now lives in New York City.

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In the first chapter of this learned meditation on one of the great writers of the twentieth century, Khruscheva fictionalizes a conversation with Nabokov, stringing together quotes from his oeuvre. "Hypothetical and literary concepts have a far greater hold on Russia's people than practical ones," says Kruscheva, but the same suspension of disbelief might be too much to ask of American readers. Later, the author tries to conjure Nabokov again "to see whether I had got him right." The result-one intelligent reader's semi-indulgent attempt to communicate the intentions, origins, and inspirations of a favorite author-is more about Khruscheva than Nabokov. Luckily, Khruscheva-a scholar of international affairs, a reader of Russian literature, a Russian émigré and the great-granddaughter of Nikita Khrushschev-is a remarkable one with a unique perspective on Russia's "impracticality and nonmaterialism" that resonates in its languages and literature. Nabokov, who wrote in both English and Russian, belongs in these Russian traditions, which Khruscheva considers "an example" to other literatures' "spiritual leadership. Spirit, soul is our greatest national achievement as well as our great national handicap." At times a sentimental book, this take on Nabokov's oeuvre gathers its themes-Nabokov, language, Russia-together in a loose weave at turns shapeless and captivating.
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Book Description Yale University Press. Paperback. Condition: New. 256 pages. Dimensions: 8.5in. x 5.5in. x 0.7in.Vladimir Nabokovs Western choice (his exile to the West after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution) allowed him to take a crucial literary journey, leaving the closed nineteenth-century Russian culture behind and arriving in the extreme openness of twentieth-century America. In Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics, Nina Khrushcheva offers the novel hypothesis that because of this journey, the works of Russian-turned-American Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) are highly relevant to the political transformation underway in Russia today. Khrushcheva, a Russian living in America, finds in Nabokovs novels a useful guide for Russias integration into the globalized world. Now one of Nabokovs Western characters herself, she discusses the cultural and social realities of contemporary Russia that he foresaw a half-century earlier. In Pale Fire, Ada, or Ardor, Pnin and other works, Nabokov reinterpreted the traditions of Russian fiction, shifting emphasis from personal misery and communal life to the notion of forging ones own happy destiny. In the twenty-first century, Russia faces a similar challenge, Khrushcheva contends, and Nabokovs work reveals how skills may be acquired to cope with the advent of democracy, capitalism, and open borders. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780300207323

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