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Stalking Nabokov$
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Brian Boyd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158572

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158572.001.0001

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Retrospects and Prospects

Retrospects and Prospects

(p.57) 6. Retrospects and Prospects
Stalking Nabokov

Brain Boyd

Columbia University Press

This chapter is the author's keynote delivered in 2000 for a small conference on Vladimir Nabokov's metaphysics at the Nabokov Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. The author reflects on the novelty and excitement of discovering Nabokov's metaphysics; the suspicion that it could become a routine key to the work of someone who always hated the routine; and the questions that he felt needed to be asked both within Nabokov's framework and outside it. The author wrote his M.A. thesis between November 1973 and January 1974 at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, on what were then Nabokov's last three novels, Pale Fire, Ada, and Transparent Things. He sent his thesis to Nabokov, and received it back in 1974. This time he focused on Ada, annotating it line by line but also examining it in the context of Nabokov's work and thought. He argues that Nabokov's own image in Speak, Memory and elsewhere of a kind of Hegelian spiral of being provides the basic framework of Nabokov's metaphysics.

Keywords:   metaphysics, Vladimir Nabokov, Nabokov Museum, Russia, Pale Fire, Ada, thesis, Speak, Memory

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