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The Return of Chorb

The Return of Chorb


by Vladimir Nabokov

Analysis: Writing Style

Consciously Artistic

O.K., granted, you could say this about ANY of Nabokov’s works, but "Chorb" is a particularly good example. Because of the way language and detail are manipulated, we get a real sense of the controlling authorial hand hovering over the text. Look at the way Chorb’s wife’s death is described: "Nothing […] could be purer than such a death, caused by the impact of an electric stream, the same stream which, when poured into glass receptacles, yields the purest and whitest light." In this one sentence are tied together light imagery, ghostly connections to the later description of the hotel room, and a veiled reference to the myth of Orpheus (read more in Symbols, Imagery, and Allegory). This language is packed with artistic detail, and reading "Chorb" is about appreciating this style to the fullest.

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