Ground Rules

1) Read each reading assignment at least twice. (Nabokov once said that one cannot read a book, one can only reread it.). In rereading texts as carefully crafted as Nabokov's, you will invariably notice something the second (third, fourth, ...) time through that you had failed to spot, or at least to fully appreciate, the first time.

2) Look up all unfamiliar words in a good dictionary. In support of this rule, glossaries for each of the novels in the course have been compiled. Note that these lists are not intended to be comprehensive; there may be words included that you know, and other omitted whose meaning is a mystery. Nabokov chose words with exquisite care, and we, as readers, owe it to him to at least make an effort to familiarize ourselves with their dictionary definitions.

3) "Notice and fondle details." Nabokov's exhortation to his students at Cornell in the 1950s remains good advice for participants in this course. Meaning lurks everywhere in Nabokov's texts. Paying close attention pays off.

4) Ask questions! Thus far technology can only imperfectly approximate the dynamic of face-to-face interaction between live humans. Though the teacher (in the present case, impersonated by me) will not be physically present as you work through the course, I will be available by e-mail and shall do my best answer all messages within 24 hours. My virtual office hours will be Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 EST. E-mail messages received during these hours will be answered almost immediately.


GETTING STARTED | COURSE OBJECTIVES | GROUND RULES