I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of General and Comparative Literature and a member of the PhD honors program at the the Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. My MA thesis, titled "Ishmael’s Speculative Play with Whiteness: A Philosophical Reading of the Ludic Poetics of Moby-Dick," was dedicated to the study of Herman Melville's masterpiece. In my doctoral research (supervised by Prof. Ilana Pardes) I provide a comparative reading of Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. The major focus of this project is the topos of the quest, understood in ethical-spiritual, linguistic-poetic, and historical-national terms. Through this analysis, I hope to trace the interrelations between the ethical and philosophical issues at stake in these works and the poetic strategies the three authors employ in treating them. I also seek to trace the intertextual affinities between the three novels, as well as Nabokov's dialogue with two of his nineteenth-century predecessors.