ASSOCIATION: doctoriales 2014 – SALIBA DIAS

Title (estimated): Literary incest or the meaning of incest in Vladimir Nabokov’s work
Institution: Humboldt University (Berlin)         Name of the supervisor: Helga Schwalm
Registration: May 2013
Date of completion (estimated):  2016/2017

The meaning of incest in Nabokov’s work

The proposal of research is to analyse the works by Vladimir Nabokov, specifically three novels, which deal with incest – Lolita, Ada or Ardor: a family Chronicle and Look at the Harlequins! – in order to understand why Nabokov chose this controversial subject and what its meaning in his work. It is also intended to pursue the subject in the short stories and poems of the author, being able to explain how he dealt with incest through his career.

To precede this analysis, the present research is organized in three chapters: in the first part the meaning of incest in different literary periods will be examined; in the second, the sources of Nabokov’s late flowering use of incest and, than, to present an interpretation of incest in Nabokov’s work.

Amid Nabokov’s work it is only in Ada or Ardor (1969) that incest is a major subject. In Lolita (1955) it appears only indirectly or disguised and in Look at Harlequins (1977) it will be incorporated as a retrospective of the author’s favorite themes.

The theory is, that incest rises in the late work of Nabokov as a creative incestuous relationship between many generations of writers and styles. Nabokov traces the evolution of the theme in the European Literature and intercourses them in a creative process, as a reworking of a tradition, a literary incest.

In this context, the meaning of incestuous behavior – which is usually, associated with fear, in the Gothic tradition or, with rebellion and alienation in the romantic approach – shifts to a new light. Now incest concerns the process of writing, the literary inheritance of a tradition and the creative voice.  It is a new Nabokovian ripple, only possible in the 20th century within the metafictional writing.
Bibliographical References

ALDRIDGE, Alfred Owen. The meaning of incest from Hutcheson to Gibbon. In: Ethics, V.61, No. 4. Chicago. 1951. pp. 309-313.

ARIÈS, Philippe. Centuries of childhood: a social history of family life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962.

BOYD, Brian. Vladimir Nabokov: American Years. New Jersey: Princenton University, 1990.

BOYD, Brian. Vladimir Nabokov: Russian Years. New Jersey: Princenton University, 1991.

BIXLER, RAY. The multiple meaning of incest. The Journal of Sex Research, Vol. 19, No. 2 (May, 1983), pp. 197-201

BOLINGBROKE, Henry St. John, Lord Viscount. The Works of the late right Honourable Henry St. John, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke with the Life of Lord Bolingbroke. London, 1809. Vol. VII. p. 496.

DENBO, J. Seth. Speaking Relatively: a History of Incest and the Family in the Eighteenth-Century England.  Ph.D. Thesis Warwick – Department of History. September 2011.

FREUD, Sigmund. Totem and Taboo. New York: WW Norton Company, 1989.

FOUCAULT, Michael. History of Sexuality. Volume I: An introduction. New York: Hurley, 1978. p. 106.

FINNEY, Gail. Self-reflexive siblings: Incest as narcissism in Tieck, Wagner and Thomas Mann. The German Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 2 (Mar., 1983), pp. 243-256.

JOHNSON, Barton. The Labyrinth of incest in Nabokov’s Ada In: Comparative Literature. Vol. 38. No. 3, 1986. pp.224 – 255.

JULIAR , Michael. Vladimir Nabokov: a Descriptive Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1986.

LÉVI-STRAUSS, Claude. The Elementary Structures of Kinship. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969.

MASON, Bobbie Ann. Nabokov’s Garden: A Guide to Ada. Ardis: 1974.

MCCRACKEN, Timothy. Lolita talks back: giving voice to the object. He said, she says: An rsvp to the Male Text. London: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2001. 128-42.

NABOKOV, Vladimir. Ada or Ardor: a Family Chronicle. New York: Penguin, 2008.

_______. Nabokov’s Butterflies. Ed. An. BOYD, Brian. PYLE, Robert Michael. Boston: Beacon Press. 2000.

_______. The Annotated Lolita. New York: Penguin, 2000.

_______. The Gift. New York: Penguin, 1980.

_______. Look at the Harlequins. New York: Vintage International, 1990.

_______. Strong Opinions. New York: Vintage International, 1990.

NAGLE, Betty Rose. Byblis and Myrrha: Two Incest Narratives in the « Metamorphoses ». The classical association of the middle west and south. The Classical Journal, Vol. 78, No. 4 (Apr. – May, 1983), pp. 301-315.

NESTERUK, Peter. Referentiality and transgression: representation of incest and child sexual abuse in American literature of the twentieth century. Nottingham University. P.h.D Thesis. October, 1994.

OLSEN, Lance. Lolita: A Janus Text. New York: Twayne Publishers,1995.

PERRY, Ruth. Incest as the Meaning of the Gothic Novel In: English century. Vol.39. No. 3, 1998. p. 261 – 277.

PIPER, Ellen. Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita: a casebook. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

PLATO. Symposium. New York: Penguin books, 1999.

POLLAK, Ellen. Incest and the English novel: 1684 – 1814. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2003.

RANK, OTTO. Das inzest-motif und in dichtung und saga: Gründzuge einer psychologie des dichterischen Schaffens. Verlag Classic Edition, 2010.

RICHARDSON, Alan. The dangers of sympathy: sibling Incest in the English Romantic Poetry In: Studies in English Literature, 1500 – 1900, Vol. 25. No. 4, Nineteenth Century. pp. 737 – 754.

SCHWALM, Helga. Dekonstruktion im Roman : erzähltechnische Verfahren und Selbstreflexion in den Romanen von Vladimir Nabokov und Samuel Beckett. Heidelberg : Winter, 1991.

SHELTON, Jen. Issy’s Footnote: Disruptive Narrative and the Discursive Structure of Incest in « Finnegan Wake ». ELH, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Spring, 1999), pp. 203-221. John Hopkins University press.

STANSBURY, Heather Lyn. Romantic incest: gender, desire and defiance. Dissertation of Doctor on Philosophy. University of Washington, 2008.

WAUGH, Patricia. Metafiction: the theory and practice of self-conscious fiction. New York: Rutledge, 2000. 

RAPF, Joan E. The Byronic heroine: incest and creative process. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Vol. 21, No. 4, Nineteenth Century (Autumn, 1981), Rice University. pp. 637-645.

THORSLEV, Peter L. Incest as a romantic symbol. In: Comparative Studies. v.2 No.1. Penn State University Press, 1965. pp. 41 -58.

KENNER, Hugh. Ulysses. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1987.