By Vladimir Nabokov

ISBN-10: 030778729X

ISBN-13: 9780307787293

Mary is a gripping story of teen, past love, and nostalgia—Nabokov's first novel. 

In a Berlin rooming residence choked with an collection of seriocomic Russian émigrés, Lev Ganin, a full of life younger officer poised among his prior and his destiny, relives his old flame affair.  

His stories of Mary are suffused with the freshness of sweet sixteen and the idyllic atmosphere of pre-revolutionary Russia.  

In stark distinction is the decidedly unappealing boarder dwelling within the room subsequent to Ganin's, who, he discovers, is Mary's husband, quickly separated from her by way of the Revolution yet waiting for her forthcoming arrival from Russia.

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16 “The Scarlet Letter presents a classic displacement,” Yellin points out: “color is the sign not of race, but of grace – and of its absence. ”17 More recently, scholars such as Brenda Wineapple and Larry Reynolds have provided more balanced assessments of Hawthorne’s attitudes toward race and slavery – acknowledging his opposition to abolition and even his racism, while seeking to understand his attitudes within both biographical and cultural contexts. Wineapple has carefully researched Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne’s racial attitudes, and she provides plenty of evidence to link Hawthorne with views that contemporary readers find repugnant.

Hawthorne’s most notorious comment about women writers occurred in a letter he wrote to his publisher, William Ticknor, in 1855, while he was serving as American Consul in Liverpool. “America is now wholly given over to a d—d mob of scribbling women, and I should have no chance of success while the public is occupied with their trash – and should be ashamed of myself if I did succeed” (17: 304). The “damned mob of scribbling women” phrase has haunted Hawthorne scholarship for many years and has led many feminist scholars to dismiss Hawthorne as a writer who had little sympathy for women’s interests or feminist causes.

Supporting the convictions was the belief in specter evidence – a belief that people could give Satan permission to take over their likenesses and so tempt others to sin. In fact, debate hinged on the question of whether Satan had the power to impersonate individuals without their permission, for if he did, then they could hardly be considered guilty. In the end, magistrates decided that Satan did have such power, and the persecutions of “witches” ceased. As David Levin has shown, Hawthorne treats the use of specter evidence most directly in “Young Goodman Brown,” as Brown encounters the specters of virtually everyone he knows.

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Mary (Vintage) by Vladimir Nabokov

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