Vladimir Nabokov : Between Inspiration and Coincidence



Year of publication 2021
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The nature of Nabokov's “reaching back” has been discussed often discussed. It involves motifs and topics rather than narrative techniques, and his works’ independence of the inspirational sources is indisputable. The best-known instance, discovered by Michael Maar, is his Lolita and the “Ur-Lolita” by von Lichberg (von Eschwege). The paper discussed the dividing lines between inspiration and random coincidence of motifs as well as the applicability of the concept of cryptomnesia which has been discussed in connection with Nabokov. Furthermore, the paper adds another possible inspirational source: a work by the Czech writer Ivan Olbracht (and its translations) as a possible incentive for Nabokov’s book Kamera obskura, which was later re-created in English as Laughter in the Dark. Its precursor, the manuscript fragment Rayskaya ptitsa (The Bird from Paradise), was mentioned as well. The paper presented the timeline, the plausibility of Nabokov’s access to Olbracht’s book, and motivic links between the texts.
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