Haas Scholars

Rikki-Nikol Anderson

Picturing Reality: An Examination of Nabokov's Ekphrastic Photographs

Rikki-Nikol is researching the status of prosaic photographs in Vladimir Nabokov’s fiction, focusing on the problems of verisimilitude that arise when a solipsistic narrator refers to a supposedly objective image. In many of Nabokov’s works, the fictional reality is mediated through a highly subjective, unreliable narrator. These narrators employ ekphrasisthe verbal description of a visual object to insert photographs into their prose. Though photographs require a real subject and suggest an objective reality, Nabokov’s narrators constantly undermine the idea of objectivity. Rikki-Nikol’s research will explore the ways in which photography affects human perception of reality and how the inclusion of ekphrastic photographs affects a readers perception of fiction. Over the summer, she will be traveling to New York to examine Nabokov’s personal papers at The Berg Collection.

  • Major: English
  • Mentor: Eric Naiman, Comparative Literature