Chapter 8: On an Unhappy Marriage, Henry James, and Atoms: Vladimir Nabokov Reading (on) Anton Chekhov

in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lectures on Literature
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Nabokov’s lecture on Anton Chekhov stands out for its numerous citations from Korney Chukovsky’s 1947 article ‘Friend Chekhov.’ At the same time, however, the lecture contains many more references to other critics, as well – some of them explicit, though not necessarily clear, others more concealed. In an attempt to trace the sources Nabokov used when drafting his Chekhov lecture, the article offers a concrete view of Nabokov’s critical laboratory. Additionally, the article sheds light on his relation to other critics and critical movements, more specifically with respect to the competing ‘tendencies’ at work in the canonization of Chekhov’s oeuvre during the interwar period: Russian émigré, Soviet, and Anglo-American.

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