English 166

Special Topics: Vladimir Nabokov

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2016 Naiman, Eric
MWF 10-11 370 Dwinelle Novel
Special Topics

Book List

Nabokov, Vladimir: Laughter in the Dark; Nabokov, Vladimir: Lolita; Nabokov, Vladimir: Pnin; Nabokov, Vladimir: The Gift

Other Readings and Media

Short stories


We will study the work of Nabokov as a novelist on two continents over a period of nearly sixty years. The course will be structured (more or less) chronologically and divided between novels translated from Russian and written in English. After beginning with several short stories, we will examine some of the fiction of his European period, before turning our attention to Lolita and Pnin. Competing interpretations of Nabokov will be considered, but our emphasis will be on metafiction, the theme of perversity and Nabokov's cultivation of a perverse reader.

“Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it.” Students should expect to devote a considerable amount of time to reading and rereading and should come to class prepared to discuss the assigned texts. Participants in the class should anticipate reading (and then, in a perfect world, curiously rereading) 150 pages per week. Written work will consist of two papers (5 to 8 pages) on topics to be chosen in consultation with the professor. Penalties will be assessed for late papers. There will be a midterm and a final examination.

This section of English 166 is cross-listed with Slavic 134F.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Spring, 2019
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/1 Special Topics: Gothic Duncan, Ian
166/2 Special Topics: Marxism and Literature Gonzalez, Marcial
166/4 Special Topics: Poetry and Prose of Race and Social Class Giscombe, Cecil S.
166/5 Special Topics: Asian American Literature - World, Nation, Locality Leong, Andrew Way
166/6 Special Topics: Realism, Then and Now Cordes Selbin, Jesse
166/7 Special Topics: Anton Chekhov Muza, Anna
Fall, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/2 Special Topics: Alfred Hitchcock Bader, Julia
166/3 Special Topics: Journeys: British World-Building, c. 700-1700 Miller, Jasmin
166/4 Special Topics: "this morning's minion": Sonic Mysticism in Gerard Manley Hopkins and Emily Dickinson Stancek, Claire Marie
166/5 Special Topics Le, Serena
Spring, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/1 Special Topics: Comedy & Violence Flynn, Catherine
166/2 Special Topics: Romantic Science Goldstein, Amanda Jo
166/3 Special Topics: Classical & Renaissance Drama Knapp, Jeffrey
166/4 Special Topics: Marxism & Literature Lye, Colleen
166/5 Special Topics: Emily Dickinson Shoptaw, John
166/6 Special Topics: Speculative Fiction Jones, Donna V.
Summer, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/1 Special Topics: Speculative Fictions, Possible Futures O'Brien, Geoffrey G.
166/2 Special Topics: Games of Thrones, Medieval to Modern Strub, Spencer
Fall, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/3 Special Topics: Black Science Fiction Serpell, C. Namwali
166/4 Special Topics: Writing Poetry and Nonfiction, Writing as Social Practice Giscombe, Cecil S.
Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/1 Special Topics: Marxism and Literature Lye, Colleen
166/2 Special Topics: Studies in Literature and Environment (Shelter and Weather) Francois, Anne-Lise
166/3 Special Topics: Slavery and Conspiracy Wagner, Bryan
166/4 Special Topics: Literature in the Century of Film Goble, Mark
166/5 Special Topics: Modern Irish Literature Falci, Eric

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