Vladimir Nabokov by David Rampton (auth.)

By David Rampton (auth.)

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Extra resources for Vladimir Nabokov

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The confrontation between the two Golyadkins c1early represents for Dostoevsky the battle between those burdened with a shaky sense of self and those with no anxieties whatever on that score. Nabokov's protagonist descends in a direct line from these characters. The double he beeomes obsessed with appears to be having eonsiderable sueeess in courting a young Russian emigree, nieknamed Vanya, but he is eventually exposed as a braggart and a slanderer in whom Vanya, engaged to be married to someone else, is totally uninterested.

352/326) This faith in the ultimate harmony of everything, the personalizing of the conviction by imagining a 'sorneone' who is 'responsible', the certainty that only by paying meticulous attention to details and their complex interrelations can one make all this, in this life at any rate, any less incomprehensible - these concerns were to occupy Nabokov the whole of his adult life. In a journal written when he was eighteen, he notes: 'Until science resolves the question more soundly, we are still doomed to annihilation.

Of course, those events produced living conditions that became intolerable for people who, lacking his extraordinary resilience and talent, could not deal with their circumstances as successfully as he did. To the extent that it recognizes the plight of such people at all, Nabokov's novel simply refuses to take them seriously. And one need hardly point out that, by the mid-1930s, the list of spiritual crises suffered by Russian writers for whom, understandably, the century seemed relentlessly oppressive, was a very long one indeed.

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