“Self-Translation And ‘Intratextual’ Expansion In Nabokov’s Autobiographical Texts: A Model For Brodsky’s Memoirs”

  • Michele Russo PhD in English and American Studies University “G. d’Annunzio”, Chieti-Pescara, Italy


Nabokov’s “triangulation” between Europe and America was characterized by different stages. The aim of this paper is to analyse the elements that led to the writing and re-writing of Nabokov’s memoirs. Starting from the concepts of displacement and misplacement in Brodsky’s most prominent essays, my work will carry out a comparative analysis of the most significant phrases and expressions in Nabokov’s final account of his life, Speak Memory (1966), and in Drugie berega (Other Shores), 1954, the Russian version of Nabokov’s first autobiography. It will point out that the former represents a further revision and, thus, an intratextual expansion of the latter, owing to a process of cultural and linguistic enrichment. I will then focus on the features of Speak Memory from a semiotic angle. The autobiography mingles elements of the Russian world with the ones of the American context, and using the European setting as a transitional space inbetween. Furthermore, the paper will employ Steiner’s theories on bilingual people’s neurological mechanisms, as well as Moro’s recent theories on cognitive neurosciences, to analyse the process which encouraged Nabokov not to relinquish his mother tongue. It will highlight the different “boundaries of Babel” in the work from a neurolinguistic perspective, as borders separating different cognitive areas, thus “forging” Nabokov’s autobiography as a unique output built on different cultural texts and contexts.


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How to Cite
Russo, M. (2016). “Self-Translation And ‘Intratextual’ Expansion In Nabokov’s Autobiographical Texts: A Model For Brodsky’s Memoirs”. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 12(23), 1. https://doi.org/10.19044/esj.2016.v12n23p1