Return to Reality: Past as Present Continuous in V. Nabokov’s Mary and G. Gazdanov’s An Evening with Claire

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Александр Леденев
Янь Куань


The article is devoted to analyzing the perception of time in V. Nabokov’s novel Mary (1926) and G. Gazdanov’s novel An evening with Claire (1929). The fundamental anti-historicism, the negative attitude towards socio-political modernity inherent in most fi rst-wave émigré writers, are diff erently embodied in these specifi c works of diff erent authors. The aim of the paper is to compare time fi xing methods as refl ected in the debut novels by two younger-generation writers of Russian white émigré. Such comparison allows us to sp ecify the understanding of existential world outlook of Nabokov and Gazdanov, which gave rise to the early stage of their creative evolution. We conclude that Nabokov seeks to create a spatial image of time, endows it with
qualities of tangible substance resorting to such material markers as calendar, fi lm, letter, and clock. On the contrary, Gazdanov draws an analogy between time and music, emphasizing its continuity, psychological indivisibility and inner integrity.


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Literary studies