Anatomy of a Short Story: Nabokov's Puzzles, Codes, Signs and Symbols

Anatomy of a Short Story: Nabokov's Puzzles, Codes, Signs and Symbols

By: Yuri Leving (author), John Banville (author)Paperback

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Since its first publication in 1948, one of Vladimir Nabokov's shortest short stories, "Signs and Symbols," has generated perhaps more interpretations and critical appraisal than any other that he wrote. It has been called "one of the greatest short stories ever written" and "a triumph of economy and force, minute realism and shimmering mystery" (Brian Boyd, Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years). Part and parcel of a classical short fiction genre, Nabokov's "Signs and Symbols"--one of his last experiments in short prose--strikes with lexical density and contains a surprising structural element: what the writer had described in his letter to Katharine White, the editor of the New Yorker, as having an "inside," "inner scheme," and "a system of mute responses". The goal of the present collection of essays is to approach the narrative riddles of "Signs and Symbols"-- reproduced here in full -- an open-ended story which invites attempts to break its mysterious code. In doing so, the contributors illuminate the ways in which we interpret fiction, and the short story in particular.

About Author

John Banville is the author of nineteen novels, including The Infinites and The Sea, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2005. Yuri Leving is Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Russian Studies, Dalhousie University, Canada. He is the author of three books, including Train Station -- Garage -- Hangar. Vladimir Nabokov and the Poetics of Russian Urbanism (2004) and Keys to The Gift. A Guide to V. Nabokov's Novel (2011), and has also co-edited three volumes, including Empire N: Nabokov and His Heirs (2006) and Goalkeeper: The Nabokov Almanac (2010). Leving has published over seventy scholarly articles on various aspects of Russian and comparative literature. He served as a commentator on the first authorized Russian edition of The Collected Works of Vladimir Nabokov in five volumes (1999-2001), and was the curator for the exhibition "Nabokov's Lolita: 1955-2005" in Washington, D.C., which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the publication of Lolita.


Contributors; Acknowledgments; INTRODUCTION; Breaking the Code: Nabokov and the Art of Short Fiction - Yuri Leving; A PRIMARY TEXT:; Heart; "Signs and Symbols" Vladimir Nabokov; FORUM: High pressure; Psychosis, Performance, Schizophrenia, Literature Hal Ackerman, Murray Biggs, John Crossley, Wayne Goodman, Yuri Leving, and Frederick White; CRITICISM; PART ONE: Bone Structure; Frameworks; Vladimir Nabokov's Correspondence with The New Yorker regarding "Signs and Symbols," 1946-1948 Olga Voronina; Lost in Revision: The Editing of "Signs and Symbols" for The New Yorker John Morris; Consulting the Oracle Michael Wood; PART TWO: Vascular System; Signs; Arbitrary Signs and Symbols Alexander N. Drescher; The Patterns of Doom Brian Quinn; Ways of Knowing in "Signs and Symbols"Terry J. Martin; A Funny Thing about "Signs and Symbols" John B. Lane; Names Yuri Leving; PART THREE: Muscles of the Story; Objects; Five Known Jars Carol M. Dole; Five Missing Jars Gennady Barabtarlo; The Last Jar Joanna Trzeciak; Trees and Birds Larry R. Andrews; Photographs Maria-Ruxanda Bontila; Cards Pekka Tammi; Telephone Andres Romero Jodar; PART FOUR: Nervous system; The Importance of Reader Response Paul J. Rosenzweig; The Jewish Quest Yuri Leving; Symbols; Signs of Reference, Symbols of Design Geoffrey Green; Sacred Dangers: Nabokov's Distorted Reflection David Field; Numbers; The Mysticism of Circle Mary Tookey; The Semiotics of Zero Meghan Vicks; PART FIVE: Dissection; Web of Contexts; "Signs and Symbols" in and out of Contexts Leona Toker; "Breaking the News" and "Signs and Symbols": Silentology Joanna Trzeciak; Pnin and "Signs and Symbols": Narrative Entrapment David H. Richter; Pnin and "Signs and Symbols": Narrative Strategies William Carroll; Pale Fire and "Signs and Symbols" Vladimir Mylnikov; PART SIX: DNA Testing; Cracking the Code; The Signs and Symbols in Nabokov's "Signs and Symbols" Alexander Dolinin; The Castling Problem in "Signs and Symbols" Yuri Leving; Reading Madly - Irving Malin; Deciphering "Signs and Symbols"Larry R. Andrews; Decoding "Signs and Symbols" John V. Hagopian; The Referential Mania: An Attempt of the Deconstructivist Reading Alvaro Garrido Moreno; A Referential Reading of Nabokov's "Signs and Symbols" Charles W. Mignon; An Afterword John Banville; Alternative Tables of Contents; Chronological Key; Alphabetical Key; Credits; Bibliography; Index.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781441142634
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 336
  • ID: 9781441142634
  • ISBN10: 1441142630

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