Vladimir Nabokov--brilliant writer, outrageous literary gamesman, and cosmopolitan exile--is a towering figure of twentieth-century literature. His most famous novel, Lolita, propelled him to international stardom and changed the transnational literary landscape. Child of a turbulent century, Nabokov wrote exquisite and at times disturbing prose in Russian and English, balancing between imaginary worlds and harsh realities. This seminar offers a sustained exploration of Nabokov's major Russian and American writings as well as film adaptations of his Despair (Rainer Werner Fassbinder) and Lolita (Stanley Kubrick). In the second half of the seminar we turn to novels Nabokov haunts: Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran, J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace, and W.G. Sebald's The Emigrants. We will consider memory, exile, trauma, nostalgia, and identity as we read Nabokov, who saw existence as a "series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished masterpiece."
All readings and discussion in English.
Cross-listed with LIT 372.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric requirement.
Satisfies an interdisciplinary minor requirement in Global Literary Theory
Satisfies a minor requirement in Russian Studies
Satisfies major requirements for CIS majors in Russian Studies, Russian Language & Literature, and Global Literary Theory