How are Nabokov's names
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Как «сделаны» имена Набокова?
How are Nabokov's names "made"?

Author(s): Andrea Tompa
Subject(s): Russian Literature, Theory of Literature
Published by: Akadémiai Kiadó
Keywords: Nabokov, Cernyševskij; names of characters; nicknames; prose technique;

Summary/Abstract: The article is devoted to the names of characters in Vladimir Nabokov’s last Russian language novel The Gift. It focuses not only on technical level of the name-build and function, but also on the relation and interference of in the larger context of the whole novel. The name of the main hero, Fëdor Konstantinovic Godunov-Cerdyncev, for example, is described on multiple levels: on etymological (i.e. the Greek origin of Fëdor’s name meaning ‘God’s gift’), on phonetical level there is an interference with names like Konceev and Cernyševskij. The article attempts to analyse and interpret the name Cernyševskij, referring to five different heroes, followed by an overview of the names (and nicknames) of Nikolaj Gavrilovic Cernyševskij. Some occasional names (as for example Stockschmeiser and Egda Stoboy) are also an opportunity to demonstrate not only the highly sophisticated technical level, but also the poetical one of Nabokov’s prose when constructing a name. Phonetical interference of different names, transformation (or even transliteration) are viewed in the large context of the novel as a whole. The article demonstrates that names are multilevel, sophisticated elements of Nabokov’s prose technique, bearing a methonimical character of pars pro toto.

  • Issue Year: 46/2001
  • Issue No: 1-2
  • Page Range: 171-183
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Russian