Publications by Year: 2020

Toker, Leona. “Irina Astashkevich, Gendered Violence: Jewish Women in the Pogroms of 1917 to 1921.” Antisemitism Studies 4, no. 2 (2020): 403-407.Abstract

book review

Toker, Leona. “"Bruised Fists": A Shift of Values in Nabokov's Fiction in the Late 1930s.” Krug: Journal of the Vladimir Nabokov Society of Japan 12 (2020): 1-20.Abstract


The work of writers in exile is generally expected to display the theme of nostalgia and the techniques of defamiliarization. It is seldom noted that the experience of a young emigrant is sometimes characterized by bouts of overwhelming poignant happiness, of joy yielded by the senses in response to the natural or even urban scenes. This happiness, against the background of a near-sublime self-sufficiency, is a distinctive feature of Nabokov’s experience of the twenties, despite the painful blows that he received; it is a recurrent theme in his poetry, fiction, and letters. By the late 1930s, for a variety of personal and political reasons, the waves of joy become rare. Instead, Nabokov’s other capacities deepen and gain further development, a modified axiology partly replacing the youthful happiness or compensating for the infrequency of its returns. This paper is devoted to the shift of emphases in Nabokov’s poetics and his thematic concerns after he could no longer base his eschatology on a recurrent experience of joyful oneness with the world.    


Toker, Leona. “Nezakonnaia kometa. Varlam Shalamov: Opyt medlennoto chteniya, by Elena Mikhailik.” Slavic Review 79, no. 2 (2020): 485-486.Abstract

book review

Toker, Leona. “Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr. The Red Wheel. Node III: March 1917, Book 2 (book review).” The Russian Review 70, no. 3 (2020): 487-488.Abstract

book review

Yun, Lan, and Leona Toker. “Cultural Remission, Factographic Literature and Ethical Criticism: An Interview with Leona Toker.” Interdisciplinary Studies of Literature 4, no. 1 (2020): 1-18.Abstract

In December 2019, Ms. Lan Yun interviewed Leona Toker during her academic visit to Shanghai Jiao Tong University. In this interview, Toker approaches the concept of cultural remission and Gulag and Holocaust literature from an ethical perspective, exploring the complex relationship between literary forms and their ethical consequences. She claims that ethical criticism is coming back in new ways and that analysis of the ethics of form may take over from that of the ethics of character behavior as a potential orientation for future studies.

Toker, Leona. “Review of Nabokov and Indeterminacy: The Case of the Real Life of Sebastian Knight, by Priscilla Meyer.” Partial Answers 18, no. 1 (2020): 182-85. Publisher's Version