Sogliadatai (The Eye)

Sogliadatai, Russkie Zapiski (Paris), 1938, reprinted, Ardis, 1978; English translation by Dmitri Nabokov in collaboration with the author published as The Eye, Phaedra, 1965. (The Eye can be found in many public libraries and is available online from Amazon.com and from Barnes & Noble).

"A thing I had long suspected - the world's absurdity - became obvious to me."

Smurov, a young Russian émigré living in Berlin, believes he has committed suicide. During his recovery, he creates a new existence, unconnected to his previous experience. Questions of reality and identity permeate this novella, which reads rather like an internalized detective story.

"A serious psychologist, on the other hand, may distinguish through my rain-sparkling crystograms a world of soul dissolution where poor Smurov only exists as he is reflected in other brains, which in their turn are placed in the same strange, specular predicament as his."
Nabokov, from his introduction

"Mr. Nabokov is a great kidder. He kids his characters, he kids his situations, and he kids the English language. But he always kids for real, as the saying is. He has always given his novels the form of an elaborate joke while underneath there are real flesh and blood and problems. This early novella ... is dry, witty, charming, and pointed, in his best vein."
Roderick Cook

Scholarly Criticism of The Eye:

Forthcoming.
A Bibliography of Critical Works on The Eye

WORKS

MARY | KING, QUEEN, KNAVE | THE DEFENSE
GLORY | LAUGHTER IN THE DARK | DESPAIR
THE GIFT | INVITATION TO A BEHEADING | THE EYE
THE ENCHANTER | THE REAL LIFE OF SEBASTIAN KNIGHT
BEND SINISTER | LOLITA | PNIN | PALE FIRE
ADA | TRANSPARENT THINGS | LOOK AT THE HARLEQUINS!
THE ORIGINAL OF LAURA


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