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By Leona Toker

"In every one bankruptcy Toker rigorously reconstructs a singular for us―those aren't mere plot summaries, yet mature items of numerous re-readings―and proceeds to make her method in the course of the novel's quite a few styles, photos, topics and motifs in an try and convey that the majority of them relate not just to Nabokov's paintings but in addition to his middle. Her readings of the novels are consistently delicate and refreshingly refined, they supply new angles and don't overstate the obvious."―SEEJ

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Extra resources for Nabokov: The Mystery of Literary Structures

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And for all I know you may be somebody else" (P, 1 65) . These words apply to the narrator rather than to the baffied anthropologist. Indeed, the narrator's name is never mentioned, and for all we know he may be not Vladimir Vladimirovich, the fictional extension of the novelist, but Vadim Vadimich, the "I" of Look at the Harlequins! This additional ambiguity reminds us that, in effect, the narrator is also a fictional character, that like Pnin he is legible but nonexistent. The story of creative imagination told in Pnin is likewise fictional and not to be identified with the actual genesis of the novel.

In the first chapter of the novel Ganin narrowly escapes being shown Mrs. Alfyorov's letter and thus loses his chance to rec­ ognize the handwriting. Moreover; the concatenation of memories starts not with Mary her­ self but with Ganin's convalescence after typhus; just before showing Ganin his wife's picture, Alfyorov produces the picture of his sister who, he says, died of typhus. Typhus may therefore be the key to Pandora's box of memories, and the four days that Ganin spends reliving his romance may have originated in a mnemonic trick.

Vladimir Nabokov: A Tribute (New York, 1980), p. 6o . 2The pension thus presents a marked contrast to the house on Ganin's country estate, which is a perfect illustration of Bachelard's "oneiric house" ( The Poetics of Space, pp. org/terms Mary 37 his past in memory, he spends most of his time outdoors, away from noisy rooms and neighbors knocking at the door: The use of the outdoors as the arena of the action is a major feature of the carnivalistic mode in fiction. l The collapse of social barriers between exiles sharing an apartment is another expression of this mode.

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