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Vladimir Nabokov et la France

Yannicke Chupin
Agnès Edel-Roy
Monica Manolescu
et al.

II. Intertextes français

Nabokov, Perrault, and Tales of Long Ago

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney

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Estratto del testo

The Waltz Invention, a play that Nabokov wrote in Paris in 1938, includes a figure named “Old Perrault” whom others recall “reciting his wonderful fairy-tales.” Old Perrault is not a character, exactly: he fails to appear among the Dramatis Personae (Waltz Invention, 3), does not participate in the action, and is mentioned only in passing. Even so, he seems integral to the play’s structure and chronology. He dies the night before it begins (18-19); his funeral takes place offstage during the second act (59); and he is probably the unnamed person who is described, in the first act’s final lines, as “an old enchanter”—Nabokov’s term for masters of literary craft—“who lived” on a nearby mountain “once upon a time” (37).1 “Old Perrault” clearly refers to Charles Perrault, who popularized the fairy tale by adapting stories from the French oral tradition.2 Nabokov often invokes folklore, fairy tales, and fantasies in his fiction; he appropriates the names of authors of such tales, too, fr...


Enseigne la littérature anglaise et américaine ainsi que l’écriture créative au College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA). Elle a co-dirigé un ouvrage collectif intitulé Nabokov and the Question of Morality : Aesthetics, Ethics and the Metaphysics of Fiction (Palgrave, 2016). Elle a été à deux reprises présidente de la Société Internationale Vladimir Nabokov. Elle a aussi été pendant dix ans responsable de la liste de diffusion Vladimir Nabokov Electronic Forum (NABOKV-L). Elle a publié une trentaine d’articles sur Nabokov, ainsi que des articles sur d’autres auteurs américains, la littérature de détection, la narratologie, le postmodernisme et Poe.

© Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2017

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