Tuesday 15th of June 2021

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Spaces of Plurilingual Interdialogism in Cournos’s Autobiography (1935): a linguistic prototype for Nabokov’s Speak, Memory (1966)


Michele Russo, Università di Foggia pdf_icon_30x30


michele.russo(at)unifg.it


Abstract: In the field of translingual literature, Vladimir Nabokov has been considered one of the most outstanding personalities of all time. However, among the Russian literati who emigrated to the USA, John Cournos represents an important prototype, whose embryonic linguistic experiments paved the way for Nabokov’s translingualism. Taking as a starting point Cournos’s Autobiography, which depicts the author’s linguistic route from Ukraine through Europe to America, and then back to England and Russia, my paper proposes to analyze the linguistic geology of the text to focus on the writer’s translingual passage. My work will throw light on the linguistic dialogism in the Autobiography, as well as on Cournos’s approach to the American and British linguistic contexts.  In view of the marked linguistic boundaries in the Autobiography, the second part of the paper will dwell on Nabokov’s linguistic passage, by discussing how Cournos’s work is a space in transition towards the more complex plurilingual and metaphorical world of Speak, Memory. The paper will zero in on the numerous linguistic interferences in Nabokov’s autobiography, thus highlighting his explicative approach to self-translation.

 

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