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LIT 13 W — Vladimir Nabokov: His Life and Literature

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Jul 10—Sep 1
Refund Deadline: Jul 13
Unit: 1
Tuition: $520
Instructor(s): Natalya Sukhonos
Limit: 40
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Jul 10—Sep 1
8 weeks
Refund Date
Jul 13
1 Unit
Natalya Sukhonos
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Fascinated with metamorphosis in butterflies and languages, Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977) loved to cross national, linguistic, and aesthetic boundaries with a brio that enraged the censors and delighted readers across the globe. Born into St. Petersburg aristocracy, Nabokov emigrated to Berlin, Paris, and then the United States. Writing in his native Russian at the beginning of his career, Nabokov eventually became an acclaimed American novelist. Initially rejected for counts of obscenity and pornography, Lolita (1955) made Nabokov famous overnight because of its seductive narrator, constant wordplay, and fascination with 1950s America. The author himself called the novel his "love affair with the English language." But who was Nabokov, really? A conservative Russian writer longing for a pre-Revolutionary past? A scholar with “strong opinions” on world literature, aesthetics, and chess? A lepidopterist who collected butterfly specimens far and wide? A radical American author who was unafraid to inhabit dark voices to explore the recesses of memory and sexuality? In this online course, we will focus on Nabokov’s early Kafkaesque Russian novel, Invitation to a Beheading; his masterpiece, Lolita; selections from his 1951 autobiography, Speak, Memory; and the short story "Signs and Symbols." We will dive into Nabokov’s maze of ethics and aesthetics, the material and the otherworldly, memory and artifice, Russian and English, life and art.

Assistant Professor, Zayed University

Natalya Sukhonos’s area of research is 20th-century Russian and Latin American literature. She has taught literature, humanities, and writing at Harvard, Stanford, Cogswell College, and UC Davis. She received a PhD in comparative literature from Harvard. She is also a published poet.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Vladimir Nabokov, Invitation to a Beheading, Vintage international (ISBN 978-0679725312)
(Required) Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (ISBN 978-0679723165)
(Required) Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited (ISBN 978-0679723394)
(Recommended) Vladimir Nabokov, Nabokov's Dozen: Thirteen Stories (ISBN 978-0241302484)