V. Nabokov, Lekcii po russkoj literature: Chexov, Dostoevskij, Gogol’, Gor’kij, Tolstoj, Turgenev, [Perevod s anglijskogo i francuzskogo; Predislovie I. Tolstogo], Moskva, “Nezavisimaia gazeta”, 1996, 438 p.
by A. A. Iliushin
The book under review is a collection of lectures and essays on Russian literature (all of them, with the exception of two, are translated from English or French). In Nabokov’s lectures literary works are more often than not retold (and not always faithfully), rather than analysed, while subtle and witty observations go hand in hand with factual inaccuracies and the arbitrariness of evaluations on the basis of taste. Lectures on Russian Literature have little to do with the philological study of literature, but rather with literary criticism, so their critique on the pages of a specialist philological periodical would be inappropriate, if it were not for their large (and not well deserved) popularity.