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Abstract

In her article "Time, Photography, and Optical Technology in Nabokov's Speak, Memory" Tetyana Lyaskovets discusses how Vladimir Nabokov narrates time in his autobiography by invoking photography and optical instruments. Photography and optical technology function in Speak, Memory as metaphors and probe the limits of chronological time. Nabokov portrays time as personal and reversible time that collapses the past and the present and allows one to glimpse the future. Because this temporal collapse is not possible physically but, as Nabokov believes, can be achieved through one's will, he engages optical technologies which provide a spatial form for his project to re-enter his past. Optical technologies become a source of both imagery and narrative structure when Nabokov writes about creating, enlarging, and bringing images closer to the viewer in order to diminish spatial and temporal distances between observer and object. Lyaskovets argues that Nabokov's autobiography narrated through optical metaphors allows us to engage in a response to our own past.