Seminar Paper, 2018
19 Pages, Grade: 1,7
In his last Russian-language novel The Gift, "a novel about love and literary growth", Vladimir Nabokov tells the story of Fyodor, an aspiring poet, the development of the young Russian émigré's literary gift and the revelation of his status as a genius.
During the course of the novel, the reader learns about Fyodor's struggles and setbacks on his poetic journey towards success. After a short introduction to the author of The Gift, Vladimir Nabokov, and a summary of the novel's plot, the author of this paper gives an overview on the differences between the 'genius' in Romantic literature (through the example of Pushkin's Mozart and Salieri) and the 'genius' as it is described in Nabokov's world and works.
In this paper, the author moreover intends to show that both Fyodor's mysterious rival Koncheyev as well as Fyodor's equally artistic and art-loving girlfriend Zina, who also acts as her boyfriend's muse and guiding spirit, play a vital role in the course of Fyodor's artistic maturation which – in a sort of plot twist at the end of The Gift – culminates in him finally becoming a, and revealing his, true genius by writing an extraordinary novel.
Given the sheer endless amount of specialized literature on Nabokov's work, the author decided to in this paper focus on the question of 'genius' in The Gift and on its main protagonist's most important external influences. There is, of course, a vast array of motifs and themes that offer interesting starting points for further in-depth analysis which will, however, due to the scope of this paper not be introduced.
This paper focuses on English-language sources (especially those of S.H. BLACKWELL and S. DAVYDOV) and makes use of the English transcription (which is also used in the translation by D. Nabokov/Scammell) for names and places.
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