This Spring we will publish what I believe will be an important new book in Nabokov studies: Anatomy of a Short Story: Nabokov's Puzzles, Codes, "Signs and Symbols". Edited by Yuri Leving, it will be a 300-page book on a single short story, “Signs and Symbols” (1948), one of Nabokov's most perfect and elusive. More details to follow, but the book is a fascinating compendium on the art of the short story and the nature of literary interpretation. It will include correspondence between Nabokov and the New Yorker, interviews, 33 essays (both classic and new), an Afterword by John Banville, and the full text of “Signs and Symbols” itself (line-numbered and full cross-referenced).
This morning we were delighted to receive the following endorsement of the galley proofs from Maurice Couturier, editor-in-chief of the Pléiade edtion of Nabokov's novels:
“Signs or symbols, satire or realism, closure or no closure, soluble or insoluble riddle? Responding to the challenge presented by this enigmatic short story, aware that Nabokov did not believe in what he called ‘the symbolism racket’, the contributors to this excellent collection of articles have mobilized a wide spectrum of hermeneutics. Convinced, with John V. Hagopian, that ‘no legitimate artist produces randomness’, they gamely attempted to quiz the author’s elusive figure, developing a brand of creative paranoia, yet never claiming, except in one case (Dolinin), to play the part of the oracle. The result is a challenging exercise of ‘Practical Criticism’ which touches upon the bone and structure of Nabokov’s work.”
Anatomy of a Short Story will publish in May in North America and elsewhere in July.