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Abstract

The article portrays the motif of dream and its symbolic meanings in Vladimir Nabokov’s short story Terror, what has not been the subject of detailed research so far. It has been determined that the experience of dream in the analysed story denotes the protagonist’s attempt to escape from the surrounding world and a shift into the sphere of the unconscious (mysterious anaesthesia). Thus the topos of dream/dream fantasy in Terror implies the existence of a hero in a particular kind of chronotope, and is connected with the semantics of the passage – from demonic chaos and metaphysical terror to restoration of cosmic (microcosmic) order and to “becoming oneself” (Ricoeur). Moreover, dream in Nabokov’s text is intrinsically linked with the problem of compatibility/ incompatibility of the two worlds: the real and the oneiric one, existing in reality and reflected in a mirror, and also with the motif of a doppelganger which bears references to Dostoyevsky’s writings. Also, an oneiric image of a laughing woman is analysed in detail in the article. It has been proven that laugter (giggle) of the story’s heroine unveils ambivalent and demonic dimension of femininity and is a reference to Pushkin’s The Queen of Spades.
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