Images for “Russian Years”

Map of Europe 1900

Nabokov’s parents

The Vyra Estate

St. Petersburg, ca. 1900: Nevsky Prospekt

St. Petersburg, ca. 1900: Admirality and St. Peter and Paul’s Fortress

St. Petersburg today

Note: if you’re interested in a classic “train car” scene from Russian literature, you might enjoy the opening of Dostoevsky’ The Idiot, which I’ve posted in the “Scanned Readings” folder on sakai. Nabokov parodies this scene in the opening of Mary, where two men are trapped in an elevator.

“Did I Miss Anything”? (A poem by Tom Wayman, in re class attendance)

Did I Miss Anything?

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

     Everything. I gave an exam worth
     40 percent of the grade for this term
     and assigned some reading due today
     on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
     worth 50 percent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

     Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
     a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
     or other heavenly being appeared
     and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
     to attain divine wisdom in this life and
     the hereafter
     This is the last time the class will meet
     before we disperse to bring the good news to all people  on earth.

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

     Everything. Contained in this classroom
     is a microcosm of human experience
     assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
     This is not the only place such an opportunity has been gathered

     but it was one place

     And you weren’t here

—Tom Wayman

Welcome to RUST 185, The Novels of Vladimir Nabokov!

Welcome, friends!

This is the course blog for The Novels of Vladimir Nabokov!

Please use this blog as a place to post questions and ideas about the reading and links to relevant websites and resources. You may also use this board as a place to post invitations to  events you’d like us to know about even if they aren’t related to Nabokov in any obvious way. (Choir concerts? Lectures? Sports events?)

If you are interested in completing the required work for this course, you will also post at least one question/comment and one response to another student’s question/comment concerning each of the novels we read for this class. (For purposes of this tally, consider the opening cluster of short readings as the first “novel…”)

Assignment 1: sign up, get a wordpress username (remember, this blog is in the public sphere, so you might have privacy conerns), and post a test comment or response. Send me an email if you’re having technical difficulties.