Monica Manolescu

University of Strasbourg

Articles de l'auteur

Cycnos | Volume 24 n°1

“Verbal Adventures in the Inky Jungle”: Marco Polo and John Mandeville in Vladimir Nabokov’s The Gift

This paper seeks to examine a particular facet of Nabokov’s authorial presence, namely the kinship between the figures of the author and the explorer. The act of exploration emerges as a powerful topos in Nabokov’s fiction and drama, generally triggered by the fascination for the blank spot that still awaits a name. Mirroring the foundational gesture of the explorer, the author draws the cartography of a new fictional world and endows it with a nominal identity.I would like to argue that one of the possible sources for the unstable pronominal behavior typical of The Gift can be found in Marco Polo’s Description of the World, a text produced jointly by Marco Polo and a professional scribe, Rusticello di Pisa. John Mandeville’s Travels, with their source appropriation and mystification, also seem to provide a relevant textual model.

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