Zina's Paradox, by Stephen H. Blackwell Zina's Paradox, by Stephen H. Blackwell was recently published by Peter Lang.

Zina's Paradox: The Figured Reader in Nabokov's The Gift
by Stephen H. Blackwell

One of the century's greatest Russian novels, The Gift still continues to baffle new readers with its playfully unstable narration, its temporal shifts, and its huge inserted opus, The Life of Chernyshevski. This study, the first monograph on Nabokov's last Russian novel, explores the connections between the narrative's structural difficulties and its most pressing thematic concerns: love and self-transcendence. In a departure from traditional approaches to The Gift, Blackwell places Zina's role as a loving, collaborating audience at the very center of the novel's significance. This non-heroine, according to Nabokov, turns out to constitute a vital part of the narrative perspective, a fact with significant repercussions for the novel's consideration of art's meaning within human existence and beyond.

"The Gift has been called the greatest Russian novel of the twentieth century. Nabokov's longest and most complex Russian work, it subtly interweaves Fyodor's and Zina's love story with a study of the narrator's creative process. By focusing on Zina's role as the novel's muse and first reader, Blackwell develops a new, insightful reading of The Gift and provides fresh light on Nabokov's creative philosophy. Unlike many critical monographs, Blackwell's work appeals to the generalist as well as the Nabokov specialist."
--D. Barton Johnson, Founding Editor, Nabokov Studies

Stephen H. Blackwell is Assistant Professor of Russian at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He has published several articles on Nabokov.

Zina's Paradox is available from Peter Lang.

Hard cover
$55.95 (US)
232 pages
ISBN 0-8204-48834
Series: Middlebury Studies in Russian Language and Literature: vol. 23


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