Vladimir Nabokov

Latest Discoveries

In chapter three of his 2014 dissertation, Jonathan Rowan writes:

"N. gives us a compass: the street runs uphill from North to South, and after he steps out of the
house, he “turned left, northward.” Before he makes this turn, he sees the poplar on his right
casting its shadow over the street. When we make a map of the setting (as anyone familiar with
the Lectures knows Nabokov would want us to do ) we discover an impossible detail: if that
poplar is, along with N., on the west side of the street, and if its shadow crosses over to the east
side, then the sun has risen in the West!" ("True to Life: A Study of Lifelikeness in Fiction
through Proust, Austen, Nabokov, and Joyce," p. 79).

This magical moment deserves the attention of all Nabokovians, especially those who love Pnin. What new vistas does it open up for our consideration of the novel? Rowan has his ideas (q.v.); and surely there are other possibilities.


Visitors to The Nabokovian are encouraged to submit items from anywhere in the scholarship: new discoveries by others, or older gems that have been overlooked or inadequately discussed by the field. Submissions will be featured in this space, with new material visible on the home page for at least one month.