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, Orhan Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence, 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.
Satisfies a major requirement in CIS Russian Studies
Satisfies a major requirement in CIS Russian Language and Literature
Satisfies a major requirement in CIS Global Literary Theory
Satisfies a minor requirement in Russian Studies
Satisfies an interdisciplinary minor requirement in Global Literary Theory
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing & Rhetoric distribution requirement
Satisfies the Cultural Diversity requirement