ASSOCIATION: doctoriales 2014 – KOKINOVA

Katherina KOKINOVA
PhD in comparative literary studies, Department of Slavic Literature, Sofia University, Bulgaria
Dissertation Title: The self-reflection in the oeuvre of Vladimir Nabokov and Witold Gombrowicz
Enrollment date: 2012 Estimated year of completion: 2015
University adviser: Prof. Dr. Panayot Karagyozov

Training the Reader by Means of Self-reflection

This paper studies comparatively the self-reflective forewords and comments in parenthesis in Nabokov’s Despair and Gombrowicz’s Pornografia. There are at least two means of self-reflection used in the analysed novels: guidelines and doubles. Are the instructions a prerequisite for new discoveries or they rather suppress scientific passion, or maybe they are a stage in the process of training the reader? Do they facilitate the “author’s fondest dream to turn the reader into a spectator”? And how many times should one reread such a novel in order to “get nearer to reality” though not close enough? We may even observe the “implied reader” embodied, explicated in Despair. The other mean used in both novels in terms of self-reflection is the figure of the double, the alter ego. It raises questions such as: if Nabokov’s and Gombrowicz’s narrators are usually unreliable in regard to their perception about themselves and the world, in regard to their self-reflection, then can they be trusted in terms of guidelines? This study is an attempt to “get nearer” to what “the sailor has hidden” in terms of training the reader.