Title of PhD. Thesis: Narratives of Desire in Nabokov’s Russian Novels
University of Szeged (Hungary), Department of Russian Literature
Name of supervisor: Prof. Dr. Katalin Szőke
Year of registration: 2012.
Estimated date of completion of thesis: September 2015.
„AS WATER TO OPHELIA”
(Problem of Aesthetical Redemption in Nabokov’s Invitation to a Beheading and The Gift)
Nabokov wrote his masterpiece Invitation to a Beheading interrupting his own work, writing another novel, The Gift. My hipothesis is that Invitation to a Beheading can be considered as a solution of a problem or elaboration of an idea, which was arosed during the creation of the other, the „main” book.
In my contribution I analyze the water-motifs of the Invitation and The Gift with close reading method to demonstrate the relationship of Nabokovian reader and/or writer heroes to the art of literature, and, besides, realisation of self-mimetic, self-reflective potentialities of literature as specific liquid mirror in these novels.
I collate Niven Kumar’s mimetopia-conception with the utopian viewpoints in Russian aesthetic tradition (first of all with the materialist utopia of Nabokovian hero, Nikolay Chernyshevsky’s and the „real” Chernyshevsky’s, of course) and study the parallels and differences between the so called ‘zhiznyetvortsestvo’, the aesthetic utopia of Russian symbolist movement with the meaning of creative act for Nabokovian writer/reader heroes. At that point I will briefly analyze the future-oriented ornamental prose and poetics of transparency in Andrei Bely’s Petersburg to highlight some important similarities of „liquid” fiction formatting metods in Nabokovian prose.
At the end I examine the relevance of Nietzschean concept of aesthetic redemption in connection with Nabokovian novels, and I suggest a special, synchronous, simultaneous idea of this philosophical term: in my opinion Nabokovian aesthetic redemption is confined only to the duration of writing or reading. But this real, empirical time of literary process works as a gap, transforms to a secret passage, a way through to the unknown, timeless outside.