Lolita is well known as Nabokov’s most “American” novel, cementing his success as an American writer, paving the road to international fame, and famously highlighting the thorough knowledge of American culture that he acquired during years of residence in the United States. The author himself further accentuated his connection to the U.S. in subsequent interviews and autobiographical writings, downplaying the multiple layers of Russian culture that helped to shape his novel. Indeed, the extent to which this most American of novels sinks its roots deep into Russian literary tradition often escapes readers’ notice. Nonetheless, even while reinventing himself as an American writer, Nabokov continued to re-elaborate elements from the Russian texts that he knew well, echoing and often parodying antecedent images, bits of plot, literary personages, and narrative structures; the densely allusive Lolita, which has been described as postmodern for its numerous references to and sustained parallels with prior literary texts, is a case in point. This chapter outlines Lolita’s fundamental connection to several classic works from nineteenth-century Russian literature by outlining some of the multiple intertextual connections between that novel and its classic predecessors, specifically those authors and works whose themes, paradigms, and personages are relatively well-known – over and above their resonance in Lolita – and are especially likely to be familiar to students. It illuminates a part of Nabokov’s own cultural background, makes Pushkin, Gogol’, Lermontov, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy more clearly relevant for readers of Lolita, and engages students of the Russian nineteenth-century classics with issues of that tradition’s continuity into the next century. As will become clear, the dubious psychological state of Lolita’s protagonist, his perverse sexual desires, the techniques by which his character and crimes are revealed to the reader, and also the entanglement of identity involving author, authorial persona, and other literary personages may all be linked to Russian antecedents.
|Titolo:||Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature and the Shaping of Lolita|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2016|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||02.01 - Contributo in volume (Capitolo o saggio)|