Masters and Servants: Upstairs and Downstairs in Vladimir Nabokov's Russian and English Writings

Professor Galya Diment, Thomas L. & Margo G. Wyckoff Endowed Faculty Fellow

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 3:30pm
120 COM

Nearly every English novelist read today was raised by servants. And nearly every novelist must have experienced the division between masters and servants in the medium of novel-writing, language." The same of course applies to many Russian writers born to noble families, among them not just the 19th nineteenth-century giants like Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Turgenev, but also Vladimir Nabokov. Russian servants and American maids flutter through Nabokov’s prose like different species of butterflies (some, if truth be told, too plump to flutter), until a character like Pnin’s Desdemona flies in and stays in one’s memory forever.

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