THE MOTIVES OF THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS IN VLADIMIR NABOKOV’S “INVITATION TO A BEHEADING”

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Abstract. Nabokov’s fiction based on a recollection of the past at various times became the object of psychological and psychoanalytic research. All the despite the fact, that there is hardly any other novelist in the history of modern literature who declares more antipathy toward Freud and his method that Nabokov. Purpose of the present study is to show that Nabokov’s memoirs, as well as in his novels, provide interesting material for psychoanalysts and psychiatrists. General method of the present research is the psychoanalytic theory by Jung. Articles on the topic of Nabokov’s antipathy toward Freud were reviewed to identify relevant studies including psychoanalytic methods in Nabokov’s works. An analysis of Nabokov’s novel “Invitation to a Beheading” proved that in his early modernist texts the writer reached visionary insights and operated on images and models of the collective unconscious born in his imagination. During the life of the writer, many psychiatrists and psychoanalysts turned to his novels for finding examples for their scientific constructions. The most likely version seems that Nabokov was afraid of his own personality and tried to create his own method of artistic texts that was equally accurate in the preparation of human psychology. According to Jung, the plot of the dream is not as important as the interaction of the archetypal motives of the dream with the details of the dreamer’s personal life; often the artist’s biography suggests clues, but an unequivocal interpretation is still impossible. The symbolic meaning is often hidden from the artist himself, but visionaries are able to follow the channels of the unconscious, being able to pull out of the “basement” meanings that are easily identifiable by consumers of literature. Notwithstanding how scornful was the attitude of Nabokov to psychoanalysis, it can be assumed that in his novels there still flashes the shadow of Sigmund Freud.
Keywords: archetypical models; psychoanalytic method; collective unconscious; dream; hallucination story

Galina V. Denissova1, Elena N. Kornilova2

1 Pisa State University Pisa, Italy e-mail: g.denissova@tiscali.it

2 Lomonosov Moscow State University Moscow, Russia e-mail: ekornilova@mail.ru ORCID id: 0000-0003-4606-8484

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