Priscilla Meyer, X3127 or 347-0059
Office hours: Monday, Wednesday11:00-12:00; 3:00-4:00 or by appointment
Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823-1831), trans. James Falen
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (1899-1977):
Translation of Eugene Onegin (1964)
Commentary to Eugene Onegin (1964)
Speak,Memory (1954; 1966)
Invitation to a Beheading (1938)
The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (1941)
The Gift (1952)
Pale Fire (1962)
"Signs and Symbols" (1948)
"The Vane Sisters" (1951)
On Reserve at Olin
Alfred Appel, ed. The Annotated Lolita (annotations only)
Walter Arndt, translation of Pushkins Eugene Onegin
Brian Boyd, Nabokov: The Russian Years
Nabokov: The American Years
G. A. Burger, Lenore
D. Barton Johnson, Worlds in Regression
Charles Johnston, translation of Pushkins Eugene Onegin
Gene Barabtarlo, Phantom of Fact: Nabokovs Pnin
Isaiah Berlin, Russian Thinkers
Andrew Field, Nabokov: His Life in Art
D. Barton Johnson, Worlds in Regression
Michael Juliar, Vladimir Nabokov: A Descriptive Bibliography
Priscilla Meyer, Find What the Sailor Has Hidden
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (screenplay)
Eugene Onegin, translation and commentary
Nomi Tamir-Ghez, Rhetorical Manipulation in Nabokovs Lolita
Duffield White, Nabokovs Literary Polemic in The Gift
Student papers from past courses
The course will be conducted as a seminar. Students will be asked to make two class presentations approximately 15 minutes long during the semester, working in pairs; be sure to discuss the topic with me a week before your presentation. There will be three formal written assignments: your translation of Onegin; a short motif study; and a hefty (~20 pp.) term paper at the conclusion of the course. The term paper must be submitted first in outline form and discussed with me in order to be read in its final form. There will also be occasional short written assignments due in class, which constitute part of your course work.
6 Introduction: The Reader as Detective
An Evening of Russian Poetry
Translation, literal and metaphysical
8 Speak, Memory: autobiography or fiction?
Student Presentation: Trace a motif (note the index)
13 Speak, Memory: Prisms
Student Presentation: patterning in Speak, Memory
15 Eugene Onegin
Chapter 1: Onegin and Pushkin
5, 6. ______________________________________________
Chapter 2: Lensky and German Romanticism
7, 8. ______________________________________________
20 Eugene Onegin
Chapters 3-5: Tatyana
Student presentation: Pushkins characterization of Tatyana and The Muse
(note esp. 8, IV)
9, 10. _____________________________________________
Chapters 68: Metamorphoses
Student Presentation: Metamorphoses (Tatyana, Onegin) and
Pushkins Literary Aesthetics (narrator, hero, author)
11, 12. ______________________________________________
22 Nabokovs Translation of Onegin: Archaic? What is translation? Student Presentation: Literal vs.
Paraphrastic translation (Nabokov, Johnston, Arndt, others?)
13, 14. ____________________________________________
Nabokovs Index to his Commentary: Useful?
Student Presentation: heroes and villains of the Commentary (poets, translators, commentators)
27 PAPER DUE: Write you own translation of Eugene Onegin into the United
States of 2004, in whatever genre you deem appropriate. Be sure to include the
authors persona and the characters metamorphoses. See web site for examples.
Nabokovs Commentary to Onegin: Encyclopedic? Opinionated?
Student Presentation: Nabokovs persona and the reader
17, 18. _______________________________________________
29 Invitation to a Beheading
Student Presentation: blue and red
4 Invitation to a Beheading
Student Presentation: the spider and the pencil
6 The Real Life of Sebastian Knight:
Student Presentation: Sebastian Knights bookshelf
11 The Real Life of Sebastian Knight: whose pursuit of what and whom?
Presentation: grey vs. silver; black and violet; art and life; the hereafter
Write for next class: who wrote the book?(one clearly formulated paragraph
with your reasoning)
13 The Gift: fiction or autobiography?
Presentation: Speak, Memory and The Gift: points of contact
20 The Gift
Presentation: the Chernyshevsky biography
cf. Sir Isaiah Berlin, Russian Thinkers, pp. 224-231
25 The Gift
Presentation: blues, buttterflies, prefiguration, apotheosis
Write for class: what will happen to Fyodor after we leave him?
27 PAPER DUE: motif study (~4pp.) See web page motif study guidelines.
As efficiently as possible, trace a motif and show how it creates meaning in the text,
using any of the last three novels we have read. Prepare to present your findings in
class in 2 minutes, with a handout containing page citations of your motif and a
paragraph summarizing its meaning. Remember that the goal is the interpretation,
which may include more than one conclusion.
cf. D.B.Johnson, Worlds in Regression, Alphabetic Rainbows in Speak, Memory
(on reserve in Olin)
Exchange papers with a classmate, edit each other, and submit your second
draft of your paper using your editors comments. See web page peer review
Class discussion: The Gift, circularity, the key motif, Fyodors artistic growth.
1 Pnin: use Gene Barabtarlos Phantom of Fact as you Reread
Presentation: Squirrels, mermaids, glass slippers
Article: Charles Nicol, Pnins History, in Novel, Vol. 4, N.3 (Spring 1971)
Presentation: Who is the Narrator?
8 Lolita: MusesTerpsichore, Mnemosyne and others
Presentation: Annabel Leigh/Annabel Lee
10 Lolita: The Status of Quilty
Presentation: Quilty, Schiller and Doppelgangers
cf. Otto Rank, The Double in Literature (Sci Li)
Ralph Tymms, The Double in Literature
7 Lolita: Humbert as Romantic Narrator: the poet or the madman?
Presentation: 41, 42._______________________________________
Read:Tamir-Ghez, Rhetorical Manipulation etc. (on reserve)
9 Lolita as a treatise on literary aesthetics
Presentation: Lolita and Onegin
Read: P. Meyer, Find What the Sailor Has Hidden, Chap. 1
(xerox and book on reserve)
15 Pale Fire: Shades Poem
Presentation: Great Art? Parody? Wasteland?
17 Pale Fire: Kinbotes Commentary
Class: What actually happened?
22 Pale Fire: Kinbote as Commentator
Presentation: Mirrors and projections: Kinbote, Shade and Gradus
29 DUE: Outline of final paper, to be returned to you by the last day of classes
Pale Fire: synthesis: Kinbote vs. Nabokov
Presentation: where do the disparate views come together?
1 Pale Fire: Metaphysics
Class : the Hereafter in PF and elsewhere in VN
Write: a page outlining a parallel between PF and another work
6 "Signs and Symbols" and The Vane Sisters (xerox)
8 Free-for-all: submit discussion topics to firstname.lastname@example.org by 9PM, December 7th
Final papers due first day of exam week, to be delivered to my mailbox in the Russian dept. office, 215 Fisk Hall