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V. Nabokov’s play with a reader in his written in Russian novels

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2016. Vol. 5. No. 1. Pp. 78-86.
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Uzbekova G. F.
Bashkir State University
32 Zaki Validi St., 450076 Ufa, Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia


Playing with the reader is one of the main characteristics of V. Nabokov’s creativity. His books is a “literary crossword puzzle”, charade, and mystification that demand parity, intellectually equal, and with the similar art preferences reader. Reader equally participates with author in an esthetic process. The reader follows the writer-“wizard” in the text, and first, enters game process to take esthetic “pleasure from the text”; second, he is getting involved in the “composite games by rules”. The main means of the organization of literary game in Russian-language novels of V. Nabokov is a play with “someone else’s word”. V. Nabokov addressed to someone else’s texts to mock social writers (N. Chernyshevsky, N. Nekrasov, N. Dobrolyubov, V. Mayakovsky) or to degrade a certain hero in parodic and ironic ways. The writer in “someone else’s word” did not mock predecessors similar to his own spirit (W. Shakespeare, A. Pushkin, M. Lermontov, A. Blok, etc.), but discredited a modern person who disappeared from the world of the real culture. One of the important composition elements of game in V. Nabokov’s novels is symbolics of key. The theme of keys obviously or indirectly sounds both in the debut Nabokov’s novel “Mashenka” (1926), and in later books: “Invitation to execution” (1936), “Luzhin’s Protection” (1930), “Feat” (1932), and “Gift” (1937). A number of motives is connected with the theme of keys and the closed doors: wandering, homelessness, downtime, initiation, and crossing. The process of searching for those keys is an attempt to find answers to ontological questions, and this is essential for V. Nabokov.


  • • play with a reader
  • • dream as literary method
  • • inter-text
  • • symbol of key


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