Nabokov and the Art of Painting

Gerard de Vries and D. Barton Johnson

Nabokov and the Art of Painting
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Gerard de Vries and D. Barton Johnson

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

With an Essay by Liana Ashenden
224 pages | 25 color plates, 55 halftones | 6-1/4 x 9-1/2 | © 2006
Paper $65.50 ISBN: 9789053567906 Published April 2006 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
“Sounds have colors and colors have smells.” This sentence in Ada is only one of the many moments in Nabokov’s work where he sought to merge the visual into his rich and sensual writing. This lavishly illustrated study is the first to examine the role of the visual arts in Nabokov’s oeuvre and to explore how art deepens the potency of the prominent themes threaded throughout his work. 

The authors trace the role of art in Nabokov’s life, from his alphabetic chromesthesia—a psychological condition in which letters evoke specific colors—to his training under Marc Chagall’s painting instructor to his deep admiration for Leonardo da Vinci and Hieronymus Bosch. They then examine over 150 references to specific works of art in such novels as Laughter in the Dark, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, Pnin, Lolita, Ada, and Pale Fire and consider how such references reveal new emotional aspects of Nabokov’s fiction.

A fascinating and wholly original study, Nabokov and the Art of Painting will be invaluable reading for scholars and enthusiasts of Nabokov alike.
Note on the Abbreviations and References
1.  Nabokov and the Two Sister Arts
2.  The 'Mad Pursuit' in Laughter in the Dark
3.  The Real Life of Sebastian Knight.  Its Colours and Painting
4.  Pnin and the History of Art
5.  Lolita and Aubrey Beardsley
6.  Pale Fire Zemblematically
7.  Leonardo and 'Spring in Fialta'
Gerard de Vries
8.   A Shimmer of Exact Details:  Ada's Art Gallery
D.  Barton Johnson
9.  Ada  and Bosch
Liana Ashenden
Appendix I:  Passages in Nabokov's Novels, Stories or Autobiography Referring or Alluding to Paintings
Appendix II:  Painters Mentioned or Obviously Referred to in Nabokov's Works
List of Illustrations and Acknowledgements
Corresponding Pages in the Volumes Published by Vintage International and Penguin Books
Index of Authors
Index of Artists
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