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Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics by Nina L. Khrushcheva

By Nina L. Khrushcheva

It's not that i am relatively attracted to both Russia, literature or Nabakov, but the intersection of all of those, in addition to autobiographical fabric from Khrushcheva, make for an attractive and poignant ebook. I felt like I discovered greatly approximately Russia, the U.S. and the 20 th century. I learn this in sittings.

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Being brought up in Russia, where literature and life often mix into a single cultural reality, I am that reader, who would always imagine Nabokov and his heroes as something far more tangible than just a writer and his books. “The Word for us is such a substantial entity (spiritually) that it comes to resemble a physical force,”2 Tertz once wrote. Obviously, the Russians are not the only ones who imaginatively perceive literature and its heroes as real. Though Americans en masse seem to lack this habit of reading, it is a trait of other countries on the European continent.

If you take a guided tour of its canals, not only will your guide point out the apartments of Blok and Pushkin, he will show you where Raskolnikov6 and Akaky Akakievich subsisted in great poverty, and along which streets Yevgeny fled the Bronze Horseman . . In Moscow, you’ll spend hours searching for the house where Bulgakov’s Margarita lived, as if she really lived there. In the Russian “high-context” culture image and narrative are not simply letters and words on the printed page but part of our life, our everyday, ordinary existence.

The other group was enraged that an offspring of the Soviet elite dared to touch the holy of holies—Nabokov, the greatest exile, who despised the communists for ruining his country, his family, his city, and his life. How dare those Moscow Kremlin mugs study, think, speak about our Nabokov, kindred spirit to all of us, who hate the Soviet nomenklatura as much as he did? Moreover, how dare anyone read politics into Nabokov who, providing his readers with an escape from politics, proudly declared: “I am all for the ivory tower” (SO, I#3, 37)?

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