ASSOCIATION: doctoriales 2014 – GHISLOTTI

Beyond Lolita: A “Reverse” Analysis of the Film Adaptations of Three Novels by Nabokov: King, Queen, Knave, Despair, The Luzhin Defence.

Stefano Ghislotti (Università degli studi di Bergamo, Italy)


From a linguistic point of view, film adaptation can be considered as a particular type of translation. Following Roman Jakobson, novels become films via an intersemiotic translation. However, this idea of adaptation leads to an evaluative approach, strictly bound to the concept of fidelity.

Changing our perspective, we could consider the films primarily as films, and study their “natural generativity”. Screen information, processed by the viewers, gives rise to a new diegetic dimension: the world described by the novels. Let’s consider from this perspective what these three films have to offer to Nabokov’s literary works.

Biographical details

Stefano Ghislotti teaches the history of cinema at the University of Bergamo. He has published a number of books in this field, notably Vietnam e ritorno (Vietnam and Back) with Stefano Rosso in 1996, Il cinema nella scrittura (Cinema in Writing) withBenvenuto Cuminetti in 2000, Riflessi interiori. Il film nella mente dello spettatore (Inner Reflections. The Film in the Mind of the Viewer) in 2003, Repetita iuvant. Mnemotecniche del film narrativo (Repetition Helps. The Mnemotechnics of Narrative Film) in 2008 and Ai confini della comprensione. Narrazione complessa e puzzle films (At the Confines of Understanding. Complex Narration and Puzzle Films) in 2011. He is currently a Visiting Fellow of SEARCH at the University of Strasbourg and is conducting new research on the film adaptations of Nabokov’s works.