Vladimir Nabokov
Overview
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was a multilingual Russian
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 novelist and short story writer. Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist. He also made contributions to entomology
Entomology
Entomology is the scientific study of insects, a branch of arthropodology...

 and had a serious interest in chess problems.

Nabokov's Lolita
Lolita
Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first written in English and published in 1955 in Paris and 1958 in New York, and later translated by the author into Russian...

 (1955) is frequently cited as among his most important novels and is his most widely known, exhibiting the love of intricate word play and synesthetic
Synesthesia
Synesthesia , from the ancient Greek , "together," and , "sensation," is a neurologically based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway...

 detail that characterised all his works.
Quotations

What is this jest in majesty? This ass in passion? How do God and Devil combine to form a live dog?

Despair [Отчаяние (Otchayanie)] (1936)

Dark pictures, thrones, the stones that pilgrims kiss Poems that take a thousand years to die But ape the immortality of this Red label on a little butterfly.

"A Discovery" (December 1941); published as "On Discovering a Butterfly" in The New Yorker (15 May 1943); also in Nabokov's Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings (2000) Edited and annotated by Brian Boyd and Robert Michael Pyle, p. 274

Play! Invent the world! Invent reality!

Look at the Harlequins!|Look at the Harlequins! (1974)

I hastened to quench a thirst that had been burning a hole in the mixed metaphor of my life ever since I had fondled a quite different Dolly thirteen years earlier.

Look at the Harlequins! (1974)

Genius still means to me, in my Russian, fastidiousness and pride of phrase, a unique dazzling gift. The gift of James Joyce, and not the talent of Henry James.

As quoted in What Is the Sangha?: The Nature of Spritual Community (2001) by Sangharakshita|Sangharakshita, p. 136

Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.

As quoted in Reading Lolita in Tehran|Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003) by Azar Nafisi|Azar Nafisi

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour.)

Encyclopedia
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was a multilingual Russian
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 novelist and short story writer. Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist. He also made contributions to entomology
Entomology
Entomology is the scientific study of insects, a branch of arthropodology...

 and had a serious interest in chess problems.

Nabokov's Lolita
Lolita
Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first written in English and published in 1955 in Paris and 1958 in New York, and later translated by the author into Russian...

 (1955) is frequently cited as among his most important novels and is his most widely known, exhibiting the love of intricate word play and synesthetic
Synesthesia
Synesthesia , from the ancient Greek , "together," and , "sensation," is a neurologically based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway...

 detail that characterised all his works. The novel was ranked at No.4 in the list of the Modern Library 100 Best Novels. Pale Fire
Pale Fire
Pale Fire is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov. The novel is presented as a 999-line poem titled "Pale Fire", written by the fictional John Shade, with a foreword and lengthy commentary by a neighbor and academic colleague of the poet. Together these elements form a narrative in which both authors are...

 (1962) was ranked at No.53 on the same list. His memoir, Speak, Memory
Speak, Memory
Speak, Memory is an autobiographical memoir by writer Vladimir Nabokov.-Scope:The book is dedicated to his wife, Véra, and covers his life from 1903 until his emigration to America in 1940. The first twelve chapters describe Nabokov's remembrance of his youth in an aristocratic family living in...

, was listed No.8 on the Modern Library nonfiction list.

Life and career

Russia

Nabokov was born on 22 April 1899 (10 April 1899 Old-Style
Old Style and New Style dates
Old Style and New Style are used in English language historical studies either to indicate that the start of the Julian year has been adjusted to start on 1 January even though documents written at the time use a different start of year ; or to indicate that a date conforms to the Julian...

), in Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

,b to a wealthy and prominent Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 family of the minor nobility. He was the eldest of five children of liberal lawyer, statesman, and journalist Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov
Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov
Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov was a Russian criminologist, journalist, and progressive statesman during the last years of the Russian Empire. He was the father of Russian-American author Vladimir Nabokov.- Life :Nabokov was born in Tsarskoe Selo, into a wealthy and aristocratic family...

 and his wife, née Elena Ivanovna Rukavishnikova. His cousins included the composer Nicolas Nabokov
Nicolas Nabokov
Nicolas Nabokov was a Russian-born composer, writer, and cultural figure. He became a U.S. citizen in 1939.-Life:...

. He spent his childhood and youth in St. Petersburg and at the country estate Vyra near Siverskaya, south of the city.

Nabokov's childhood, which he called "perfect", was remarkable in several ways. The family spoke Russian, English, and French in their household, and Nabokov was trilingual from an early age. In fact, much to his patriotic father's chagrin, Nabokov could read and write English before he could Russian. In Speak, Memory
Speak, Memory
Speak, Memory is an autobiographical memoir by writer Vladimir Nabokov.-Scope:The book is dedicated to his wife, Véra, and covers his life from 1903 until his emigration to America in 1940. The first twelve chapters describe Nabokov's remembrance of his youth in an aristocratic family living in...

 Nabokov recalls numerous details of his privileged childhood, and his ability to recall in vivid detail memories of his past was a boon to him during his permanent exile, as well as providing a theme that echoes from his first book, Mary, all the way to later works such as Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle
Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle
Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov published in 1969.Ada began to materialize in 1959, when Nabokov was flirting with two projects: "The Texture of Time" and "Letters from Terra." In 1965, he began to see a link between the two ideas, finally composing a unified novel...

. While the family was nominally Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, they felt no religious fervor, and little Vladimir was not forced to attend church after he lost interest. In 1916, Nabokov inherited the estate Rozhdestveno, next to Vyra, from his uncle Vasiliy Ivanovich Rukavishnikov ("Uncle Ruka" in Speak, Memory), but lost it in the revolution one year later; this was the only house he ever owned.

Emigration

After the 1917 February Revolution
February Revolution
The February Revolution of 1917 was the first of two revolutions in Russia in 1917. Centered around the then capital Petrograd in March . Its immediate result was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, the end of the Romanov dynasty, and the end of the Russian Empire...

, Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov
Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov
Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov was a Russian criminologist, journalist, and progressive statesman during the last years of the Russian Empire. He was the father of Russian-American author Vladimir Nabokov.- Life :Nabokov was born in Tsarskoe Selo, into a wealthy and aristocratic family...

 became a secretary of the Russian Provisional Government
Russian Provisional Government
The Russian Provisional Government was the short-lived administrative body which sought to govern Russia immediately following the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II . On September 14, the State Duma of the Russian Empire was officially dissolved by the newly created Directorate, and the country was...

, and the family was forced to flee the city after the Bolshevik Revolution for Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

, not expecting to be away for very long. They lived at a friend's estate and in September 1918 moved to Livadiya; Nabokov's father was a minister of justice of the Crimean provisional government. After the withdrawal of the German Army (November 1918) and the defeat of the White Army in early 1919, the Nabokovs left for exile in western Europe. On 2 April 1919, the family left Sevastopol
Sevastopol
Sevastopol is a city on rights of administrative division of Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimea peninsula. It has a population of 342,451 . Sevastopol is the second largest port in Ukraine, after the Port of Odessa....

 on the last ship. They settled briefly in England, where Vladimir enrolled in Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

 and studied Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

 and Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

. He later drew on his Cambridge experiences to write the novel Glory
Glory (novel)
Glory is a Russian novel written by Vladimir Nabokov between 1930 and 1932 and first published in Paris.The novel has been seen by some critics as a kind fictional dress-run-through of the author's famous memoir Speak, Memory...

. In 1920, his family moved to Berlin, where his father set up the émigré newspaper Rul (Rudder). Nabokov would follow to Berlin after his studies at Cambridge two years later.

Berlin years (1922–37)

In March 1922, Nabokov's father was assassinated in Berlin by Russian monarchist Piotr Shabelsky-Bork
Piotr Shabelsky-Bork
Piotr Nikolaevich Shabelsky-Bork was a Russian officer active in anti-Semitic politics, who became a member of a Russian Nazi movement. He is best known for his 1922 murder of Vladimir Nabokov, father of the Russian-American novelist of the same name.Shabelsky-Bork was born in Kislovodsk to a...

 as he was trying to shield the real target, Pavel Milyukov
Pavel Milyukov
Pavel Nikolayevich Milyukov , a Russian politician, was the founder, leader, and the most prominent member of the Constitutional Democratic party...

, a leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party
Constitutional Democratic party
The Constitutional Democratic Party was a liberal political party in the Russian Empire. Party members were called Kadets, from the abbreviation K-D of the party name...

-in-exile. This mistaken, violent death would echo again and again in Nabokov's fiction, where characters would meet their deaths under mistaken terms. (In Pale Fire
Pale Fire
Pale Fire is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov. The novel is presented as a 999-line poem titled "Pale Fire", written by the fictional John Shade, with a foreword and lengthy commentary by a neighbor and academic colleague of the poet. Together these elements form a narrative in which both authors are...

, for example, one interpretation of the novel has an assassin mistakenly kill the poet John Shade, when his actual target is a fugitive European monarch.) Shortly after his father's death, Nabokov's mother and sister moved to Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

.

Nabokov stayed in Berlin, where he had become a recognised poet and writer within the émigré community and published under the nom de plume V. Sirin. To supplement his scant writing income, he taught languages and gave tennis and boxing lessons. Of his fifteen Berlin years, Dieter E. Zimmer wrote: "He never became fond of Berlin, and at the end intensely disliked it. He lived within the lively Russian community of Berlin that was more or less self-sufficient, staying on after it had disintegrated because he had nowhere else to go to. He knew little German. He knew few Germans except for landladies, shopkeepers, the petty immigration officials at the police headquarters."

In 1922 Nabokov became engaged to Svetlana Siewert; she broke off the engagement in early 1923, with her parents worrying that he could not provide for her. In May 1923 he met a Jewish-Russian woman, Véra Evseyevna Slonim, at a charity ball in Berlin and married her in April 1925. Their only child, Dmitri
Dmitri Nabokov
Dmitri Vladimirovich Nabokov is an American opera singer and translator. He is the only child of writer Vladimir Nabokov and his wife Vera Nabokov, and is currently executor of his father's literary estate.-Background:...

, was born in 1934.

In 1936, Véra lost her job because of the increasingly anti-Semitic environment; also in that year the assassin of Nabokov's father was appointed second-in-command of the Russian émigré group. In the same year Nabokov began seeking a job in the English-speaking world. In 1937 he left Germany for France, where he had a short affair with Russian émigrée Irina Guadanini; his family followed, making their last visit to Prague en route. They settled in Paris, but also spent time in Cannes
Cannes
Cannes is one of the best-known cities of the French Riviera, a busy tourist destination and host of the annual Cannes Film Festival. It is a Commune of France in the Alpes-Maritimes department....

, Menton
Menton
Menton is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.Situated on the French Riviera, along the Franco-Italian border, it is nicknamed la perle de la France ....

, Cap d'Antibes, and Frejus
Fréjus
Fréjus is a commune in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.It neighbours Saint-Raphaël, effectively forming one town...

. In May 1940 the Nabokov family fled from the advancing German troops to the United States on board the SS Champlain
SS Champlain
The SS Champlain was a cabin class ocean liner built in 1932 for the French Line by Chantiers et Ateliers de Saint-Nazaire, Penhoët. She was sunk by a mine off La Pallice, France, in 1940 -- one of the earliest passenger ship losses of the Second World War.Although not as well remembered as her...

.

America

The Nabokovs settled in Manhattan and Vladimir started a job at the American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History , located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world...

. In October he met Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson was an American writer and literary and social critic and noted man of letters.-Early life:Wilson was born in Red Bank, New Jersey. His father, Edmund Wilson, Sr., was a lawyer and served as New Jersey Attorney General. Wilson attended The Hill School, a college preparatory...

, who became his close friend (until their falling out two decades later) and introduced Nabokov's work to American editors.

Nabokov went to Wellesley College in 1941 as resident lecturer in comparative literature. The position, created specifically for him, provided an income and free time to write creatively and pursue his lepidoptery. Nabokov is remembered as the founder of Wellesley's Russian Department.
The Nabokovs resided in Wellesley, Massachusetts
Wellesley, Massachusetts
Wellesley is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of Greater Boston. The population was 27,982 at the time of the 2010 census.It is best known as the home of Wellesley College and Babson College...

 during the 1941–42 academic year. In September 1942 they moved to Cambridge
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

 where they lived until June 1948.
Following a lecture tour through the United States, Nabokov returned to Wellesley for the 1944–45 academic year as a lecturer in Russian. In 1945, he became a naturalised citizen of the United States. He served through the 1947–48 term as Wellesley's one-man Russian Department, offering courses in Russian language and literature. His classes were popular, due as much to his unique teaching style as to the wartime interest in all things Russian. At the same time he was the de facto curator of lepidoptery at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

's Museum of Comparative Zoology
Museum of Comparative Zoology
The Museum of Comparative Zoology, full name "The Louis Agassiz Museum of Comparative Zoology", often abbreviated simply to "MCZ", is a zoology museum located on the grounds of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is one of three museums which collectively comprise the Harvard Museum...

. After being encouraged by Morris Bishop
Morris Bishop
Morris Gilbert Bishop was an American scholar, historian, biographer, author, and humorist.Raised in Canada and New York, he attended Cornell from 1910–1913, earning a Bachelor's in 1913 and then a Master of Arts degree in 1914...

, Nabokov left Wellesley in 1948 to teach Russian and European literature at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

.

Nabokov wrote Lolita
Lolita
Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first written in English and published in 1955 in Paris and 1958 in New York, and later translated by the author into Russian...

 while travelling on butterfly-collection trips in the western United States that he undertook every summer. Nabokov never learned to drive, type, fold an umbrella, or answer the telephone. Véra acted as "secretary, typist, editor, proofreader, translator and bibliographer; his agent, business manager, legal counsel and chauffeur; his research assistant, teaching assistant and professorial understudy"; when Nabokov attempted to burn unfinished drafts of Lolita, it was Véra who stopped him. He called her the best-humoured woman he had ever known.

In June 1953 Nabakov and his family went to Ashland, Oregon
Ashland, Oregon
Ashland is a city in Jackson County, Oregon, United States, near Interstate 5 and the California border, and located in the south end of the Rogue Valley. It was named after Ashland County, Ohio, point of origin of Abel Helman and other founders, and secondarily for Ashland, Kentucky, where other...

, renting a house on Meade Street from Professor Taylor, head of the Southern Oregon College
Southern Oregon University
is a public liberal arts college located in Ashland, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1926, it was formerly known as Southern Oregon College and Southern Oregon State College . SOU offers criminology, natural sciences, including environmental science, Shakespearean studies and theatre arts programs...

 Department of Social Science. There he finished Lolita
Lolita
Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first written in English and published in 1955 in Paris and 1958 in New York, and later translated by the author into Russian...

 and began writing the novel Pnin
Pnin
Pnin is Vladimir Nabokov's 13th novel and his fourth written in English; it was published in 1957.-Plot summary:The book's eponymous protagonist, Timofey Pavlovich Pnin, is a Russian-born professor living in the United States...

. He roamed the nearby mountains looking for butterflies, and wrote a poem called Lines Written in Oregon. On 1 October 1953, he and his family left for Ithaca, New York
Ithaca, New York
The city of Ithaca, is a city in upstate New York and the county seat of Tompkins County, as well as the largest community in the Ithaca-Tompkins County metropolitan area...

, where he would later teach the young writer Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. is an American novelist. For his most praised novel, Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon received the National Book Award, and is regularly cited as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature...

.

Montreux

After the great financial success of Lolita
Lolita
Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first written in English and published in 1955 in Paris and 1958 in New York, and later translated by the author into Russian...

, Nabokov was able to return to Europe and devote himself exclusively to writing. His son had obtained a position as an operatic bass at Reggio Emilia
Reggio Emilia
Reggio Emilia is an affluent city in northern Italy, in the Emilia-Romagna region. It has about 170,000 inhabitants and is the main comune of the Province of Reggio Emilia....

. On 1 October 1961, he and Véra moved to the Montreux Palace Hotel in Montreux
Montreux
Montreux is a municipality in the district of Riviera-Pays-d'Enhaut in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland.It is located on Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps and has a population, , of and nearly 90,000 in the agglomeration.- History :...

, Switzerland; he stayed there until the end of his life.Herbert Gold (Summer-Fall 1967). "Vladimir Nabokov, The Art of Fiction No. 40". The Paris Review
Paris Review
The Paris Review is a literary quarterly founded in 1953 by Harold L. Humes, Peter Matthiessen and George Plimpton. Plimpton edited the Review from its founding until his death in 2003. In its first five years, The Paris Review published works by Jack Kerouac, Philip Larkin, V. S...

.
From his sixth-floor quarters he conducted his business and took tours to the Alps, Corsica, and Sicily to hunt butterflies. In 1976 he was hospitalised with an undiagnosed fever. He was rehospitalised in Lausanne in 1977 suffering from severe bronchial congestion. He died on 2 July in Montreux
Montreux
Montreux is a municipality in the district of Riviera-Pays-d'Enhaut in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland.It is located on Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps and has a population, , of and nearly 90,000 in the agglomeration.- History :...

 surrounded by his family and, according to his son, Dmitri, "with a triple moan of descending pitch". His remains were cremated and are buried at the Clarens
Clarens, Switzerland
Clarens is a small village in the municipality of Montreux, in the canton of Vaud, in Switzerland.Whilst in Clarens, the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky wrote his ballets The Rite of Spring and Pulcinella and in March 1878, Tchaikovsky wrote his Violin Concerto.Paul Kruger, hero of South African...

 cemetery in Montreux
Montreux
Montreux is a municipality in the district of Riviera-Pays-d'Enhaut in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland.It is located on Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps and has a population, , of and nearly 90,000 in the agglomeration.- History :...

.

At the time of his death, he was working on a novel titled The Original of Laura
The Original of Laura
The Original of Laura is the incomplete final novel by Vladimir Nabokov, which he was writing at the time of his death in 1977. It was finally published, after 30 years of private debate, on November 17, 2009. Nabokov had requested that the work be destroyed upon his death, but his family hesitated...

. His wife Véra and son Dmitri were entrusted with Nabokov's literary executor
Literary executor
A literary executor is a person with decision-making power in respect of a literary estate. According to Wills, Administration and Taxation: a practical guide "A will may appoint different executors to deal with different parts of the estate...

ship, and though he asked them to burn the manuscript, they chose not to destroy his final work. The incomplete manuscript, around 125 handwritten index cards, remained in a Swiss bank vault where only two people, Dmitri Nabokov and an unknown person, had access. Portions of the manuscript were shown to Nabokov scholars. In April, 2008, Dmitri announced that he would publish the novel. The Original of Laura was published on 17 November 2009.

Prior to the incomplete novel's publication, several short excerpts of The Original of Laura were made public, most recently by German weekly Die Zeit
Die Zeit
Die Zeit is a German nationwide weekly newspaper that is highly respected for its quality journalism.With a circulation of 488,036 and an estimated readership of slightly above 2 million, it is the most widely read German weekly newspaper...

, which in its 14 August 2008 issue for the first time reproduced some of Nabokov's original index cards obtained by its reporter Malte Herwig. In the accompanying article, Herwig concludes that "Laura", although fragmentary, is "vintage Nabokov".

In July 2009, Playboy magazine acquired the rights to print a 5,000 word excerpt from The Original of Laura. It was printed in the December issue.

Work

Nabokov's first writings were in Russian, but he came to his greatest distinction in the English language. For this achievement, he has been compared with Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born English novelist.Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties...

; yet Nabokov viewed this as a dubious comparison, as Conrad composed in French and English. Nabokov disdained the comparison for aesthetic reasons, lamenting to the critic Edmund Wilson, "I am too old to change Conradically" – which John Updike later called, "itself a jest of genius". Nabokov translated many of his own early works into English, sometimes in cooperation with his son Dmitri. His trilingual upbringing had a profound influence on his artistry. Nabokov himself translated into Russian two books that he had originally written in English, Conclusive Evidence and Lolita. The first "translation" was made because of Nabokov's feeling of imperfection in the English version. Writing the book, he noted that he needed to translate his own memories into English, and to spend a lot of time explaining things which are well-known in Russia; then he decided to re-write the book once again, in his first native language, and after that he made the final version, Speak, Memory (Nabokov first wanted to name it "Speak, Mnemosyne
Mnemosyne
Mnemosyne , source of the word mnemonic, was the personification of memory in Greek mythology. This titaness was the daughter of Gaia and Uranus and the mother of the nine Muses by Zeus:* Calliope * Clio * Erato...

"). Nabokov was a proponent of individualism
Individualism
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own...

, and rejected concepts and ideologies that curtailed individual freedom and expression, such as totalitarianism
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

 in its various forms as well as Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

's psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

. Poshlost
Poshlost
Poshlost is a word that has been defined as "petty evil or self-satisfied vulgarity" ; there is no single English translation. At more length Boym explains:...

, or as he transcribed it, poshlust, is disdained and frequently mocked in his works.

Nabokov published under the pseudonym "Vladimir Sirin" in the 1920s to 1940s, occasionally to mask his identity from critics. He also makes cameo appearances in some of his novels, such as the character "Vivian Darkbloom" (an anagram
Anagram
An anagram is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once; e.g., orchestra = carthorse, A decimal point = I'm a dot in place, Tom Marvolo Riddle = I am Lord Voldemort. Someone who...

 of "Vladimir Nabokov"), who appears in both Lolita and Ada, or Ardor.

Nabokov is noted for his complex plots, clever word play, and use of alliteration
Alliteration
In language, alliteration refers to the repetition of a particular sound in the first syllables of Three or more words or phrases. Alliteration has historically developed largely through poetry, in which it more narrowly refers to the repetition of a consonant in any syllables that, according to...

. He gained both fame and notoriety with his novel Lolita (1955), which tells of a grown man's devouring passion for a twelve-year-old girl. This and his other novels, particularly Pale Fire (1962), won him a place among the greatest novelists of the 20th century. His longest novel, which met with a mixed response, is Ada
Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle
Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov published in 1969.Ada began to materialize in 1959, when Nabokov was flirting with two projects: "The Texture of Time" and "Letters from Terra." In 1965, he began to see a link between the two ideas, finally composing a unified novel...

 (1969). He devoted more time to the composition of this novel than any of his others. Nabokov's fiction is characterised by its linguistic playfulness. For example, his short story "The Vane Sisters
The Vane Sisters
"The Vane Sisters" is the penultimate short story by Vladimir Nabokov, written in March 1951. It is famous for providing one of the most extreme examples of an unreliable narrator...

" is famous in part for its acrostic
Acrostic
An acrostic is a poem or other form of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message. As a form of constrained writing, an acrostic can be used as a mnemonic device to aid memory retrieval. A famous...

 final paragraph, in which the first letters of each word spell out a message from beyond the grave.

Nabokov's stature as a literary critic is founded largely on his four-volume translation
Translation
Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. Whereas interpreting undoubtedly antedates writing, translation began only after the appearance of written literature; there exist partial translations of the Sumerian Epic of...

 of and commentary on Alexander Pushkin's epic of the Russian soul, Eugene Onegin
Eugene Onegin
Eugene Onegin is a novel in verse written by Alexander Pushkin.It is a classic of Russian literature, and its eponymous protagonist has served as the model for a number of Russian literary heroes . It was published in serial form between 1825 and 1832...

, published in 1964. That commentary ended with an appendix titled Notes on Prosody which has developed a reputation of its own. It stemmed from his observation that while Pushkin's iambic tetrameter
Iambic tetrameter
Iambic tetrameter is a meter in poetry. It refers to a line consisting of four iambic feet. The word "tetrameter" simply means that there are four feet in the line; iambic tetrameter is a line comprising four iambs...

s had been a part of Russian literature
Russian literature
Russian literature refers to the literature of Russia or its émigrés, and to the Russian-language literature of several independent nations once a part of what was historically Russia or the Soviet Union...

 for a fairly short two centuries, they were clearly understood by the Russian prosodists. On the other hand, he viewed the much older English iambic tetrameters as muddled and poorly documented. In his own words:
I have been forced to invent a simple little terminology of my own, explain its application to English verse forms, and indulge in certain rather copious details of classification before even tackling the limited object of these notes to my translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, an object that boils down to very little—in comparison to the forced preliminaries—namely, to a few things that the non-Russian student of Russian literature must know in regard to Russian prosody in general and to Eugene Onegin in particular.

He argued that all verse translations of Onegin fatally betrayed the author's use of language; critics replied that failure to make the translation as beautifully styled as the original was a much greater betrayal.

He firmly believed that novels should not aim to teach and that readers should not merely empathise with characters but that a 'higher' aesthetic enjoyment should be attained, partly by paying great attention to details of style and structure. He detested what he saw as 'general ideas' in novels, and so when teaching Ulysses
Ulysses (novel)
Ulysses is a novel by the Irish author James Joyce. It was first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, in Paris. One of the most important works of Modernist literature,...

, for example, he would insist students keep an eye on where the characters were in Dublin (with the aid of a map) rather than teaching the complex Irish history that many critics see as being essential to an understanding of the novel. During his ten years at Cornell, Nabokov introduced undergraduates to the delights of great fiction, including Bleak House
Bleak House
Bleak House is the ninth novel by Charles Dickens, published in twenty monthly installments between March 1852 and September 1853. It is held to be one of Dickens's finest novels, containing one of the most vast, complex and engaging arrays of minor characters and sub-plots in his entire canon...

 by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

, in fifty-minute classroom lectures. Not until glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

 did Nabokov's work become officially available in his native country. Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 authorised a five-volume edition of his writing in 1988.

In 2010, Kitsch Magazine
Kitsch (magazine)
Kitsch is a magazine jointly produced by students of Cornell University and Ithaca College. It prints feature journalism, fiction, opinions, art, and miscellaneous shorter pieces; one of its taglines reads "Where fact and fiction meet." The relatively unrestricted scope of the publication ensures...

, a student publication at Cornell, published a piece that focused on student reflections on these lectures and also explored Nabokov's long relationship with Playboy Magazine
Playboy
Playboy is an American men's magazine that features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction. It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. The magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with...

.

In his essay "Nabokov, or Nostalgia", Danilo Kiš
Danilo Kiš
Danilo Kiš was a Yugoslavian novelist, short story writer and poet who wrote in Serbo-Croatian. Kiš was influenced by Bruno Schulz, Vladimir Nabokov, Jorge Luis Borges and Ivo Andrić, among other authors...

 wrote that Nabokov's is "a magnificent, complex, and sterile art". Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Yevtushenko is a Soviet and Russian poet. He is also a novelist, essayist, dramatist, screenwriter, actor, editor, and a director of several films.-Early life:...

 said in a Playboy interview that he could hear the clatter of surgical tools in Nabokov's prose.

Nabokov's synesthesia

Nabokov was a self-described synesthete
Synesthesia
Synesthesia , from the ancient Greek , "together," and , "sensation," is a neurologically based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway...

, who at a young age equated the number five with the colour red. Aspects of synesthesia can be found in several of his works. In his memoir Speak, Memory, he notes that his wife also exhibited synesthesia; like her husband, her mind's eye associated colours with particular letters. They discovered that Dmitri shared the trait, and moreover that the colours he associated with some letters were in some cases blends of his parents' hues—"which is as if gene
Gene
A gene is a molecular unit of heredity of a living organism. It is a name given to some stretches of DNA and RNA that code for a type of protein or for an RNA chain that has a function in the organism. Living beings depend on genes, as they specify all proteins and functional RNA chains...

s were painting in aquarelle".

For some synesthetes, letters are not simply associated with certain colours, they are themselves coloured. Nabokov frequently endowed his protagonists with a similar gift. In Bend Sinister Krug comments on his perception of the word "loyalty" as being like a golden fork lying out in the sun. In The Defense, Nabokov mentioned briefly how the main character's father, a writer, found he was unable to complete a novel that he planned to write, becoming lost in the fabricated storyline by "starting with colours". Many other subtle references are made in Nabokov's writing that can be traced back to his synesthesia. Many of his characters have a distinct "sensory appetite" reminiscent of synesthesia.

Entomology

His career as an entomologist was equally distinguished. His interest in this field had been
inspired by books of Maria Sibylla Merian
Maria Sibylla Merian
Maria Sibylla Merian was a naturalist and scientific illustrator who studied plants and insects and made detailed paintings about them...

 he had found in the attic of his family's country home in Vyra. Throughout an extensive career of collecting he never learned to drive a car, and he depended on his wife Véra to take him to collecting sites. During the 1940s, as a research fellow in zoology
Zoology
Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

, he was responsible for organizing the butterfly collection of the Museum of Comparative Zoology
Museum of Comparative Zoology
The Museum of Comparative Zoology, full name "The Louis Agassiz Museum of Comparative Zoology", often abbreviated simply to "MCZ", is a zoology museum located on the grounds of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is one of three museums which collectively comprise the Harvard Museum...

 at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

. His writings in this area were highly technical. This, combined with his specialty in the relatively unspectacular tribe Polyommatini
Polyommatini
Polyommatini is a tribe of lycaenid butterflies in the subfamily Polyommatinae. They were extensively studied by lepidopterist Vladimir Nabokov.-Doubtful Polyommatini:...

 of the family Lycaenidae
Lycaenidae
The Lycaenidae are the second-largest family of butterflies, with about 6000 species worldwide, whose members are also called gossamer-winged butterflies...

, has left this facet of his life little explored by most admirers of his literary works. He described the Karner Blue
Karner Blue
The Karner Blue, Lycaeides melissa samuelis, is a small, blue butterfly found in small areas of New Jersey, the Great Lakes region, southern New Hampshire, and the Capital District region of New York. The butterfly, whose lifecycle depends on the wild blue lupine flower , is classified as an...

. The genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Nabokovia
Nabokovia
Nabokovia is a genus of butterflies, named by Arthus Francis Hemming in honour of Vladimir Nabokov, who extensively studied the Polyommatinae subfamily.Species include:*Nabokovia faga...

 was named after him in honor of this work, as were a number of butterfly and moth species (e.g. many of the genera Madeleinea
Madeleinea
Madeleinea is a butterfly genus in the family Lycaenidae. These Andean butterflies are very interesting from a taxonomic standpoint.For one thing, this genus was discussed by famous author and lepidopterologist Vladimir Nabokov in 1945. However, he used the name Itylos, which actually refers to a...

 and Pseudolucia
Pseudolucia
Pseudolucia is a genus of butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. They are predominantly found in parts of South America, south of Brazil. In many of the southern and western regions, stretching from Chile to Uruguay, habitat loss and pollution have led to near extinction.-Species:* Pseudolucia andina...

). In 1967, Nabokov commented: "The pleasures and rewards of literary inspiration are nothing beside the rapture of discovering a new organ under the microscope or an undescribed species on a mountainside in Iran or Peru. It is not improbable that had there been no revolution in Russia, I would have devoted myself entirely to lepidopterology and never written any novels at all."

The palaeontologist and essayist Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation....

 discussed Nabokov's lepidoptery in his essay, "No Science Without Fancy, No Art Without Facts: The Lepidoptery of Vladimir Nabokov" (reprinted in I Have Landed
I Have Landed
I Have Landed is the 10th and final volume of collected essays by the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. The essays were culled from his monthly column "This View of Life" in Natural History magazine, to which Gould contributed for 27 years...

). Gould notes that Nabokov was occasionally a scientific "stick-in-the-mud". For example, Nabokov never accepted that genetics
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 or the counting of chromosome
Chromosome
A chromosome is an organized structure of DNA and protein found in cells. It is a single piece of coiled DNA containing many genes, regulatory elements and other nucleotide sequences. Chromosomes also contain DNA-bound proteins, which serve to package the DNA and control its functions.Chromosomes...

s could be a valid way to distinguish species of insects, and relied on the traditional (for lepidopterists) microscopic comparison of their genitalia.

The Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
The Harvard Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum on the grounds of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.It has three parts:* the Harvard University Herbaria* the Museum of Comparative Zoology* the Harvard Mineralogical Museum....

, which now contains the Museum of Comparative Zoology, still possesses Nabokov's "genitalia cabinet", where the author stored his collection of male blue butterfly genitalia. "Nabokov was a serious taxonomist," according to the museum staff writer Nancy Pick, author of The Rarest of the Rare: Stories Behind the Treasures at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. "He actually did quite a good job at distinguishing species that you would not think were different—by looking at their genitalia under a microscope six hours a day, seven days a week, until his eyesight was permanently impaired."

Though his work was not taken seriously by professional lepidopterists during his life, new genetic research supports Nabokov's hypothesis that a group of butterfly species, called the Polyommatus
Polyommatus
Polyommatus is a genus of butterflies.-List of species:* Polyommatus abdon .* Polyommatus achaemenes .* Polyommatus actinides .* Polyommatus actis ....

 blues, came to the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 over the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

 in five waves, eventually reaching Chile.

Many of Nabokov's fans have tried to ascribe literary value to his scientific papers, Gould notes. Conversely, others have claimed that his scientific work enriched his literary output. Gould advocates a third view, holding that the other two positions are examples of the post hoc ergo propter hoc
Post hoc ergo propter hoc
Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for "after this, therefore because of this," is a logical fallacy that states, "Since that event followed this one, that event must have been caused by this one." It is often shortened to simply post hoc and is also sometimes referred to as false cause,...

 logical fallacy. Rather than assuming that either side of Nabokov's work caused or stimulated the other, Gould proposes that both stemmed from Nabokov's love of detail, contemplation, and symmetry.

Chess problems

Nabokov spent considerable time during his exile on the composition of chess problems. Such compositions he published in the Russian émigré press, Poems and Problems
Poems and Problems
Poems and Problems is a book by Vladimir Nabokov published in 1969. It consists of:* 39 poems originally written in Russian and translated by Nabokov* 14 poems written in English* 18 chess problems...

 (18 chess compositions) and Speak, Memory
Speak, Memory
Speak, Memory is an autobiographical memoir by writer Vladimir Nabokov.-Scope:The book is dedicated to his wife, Véra, and covers his life from 1903 until his emigration to America in 1940. The first twelve chapters describe Nabokov's remembrance of his youth in an aristocratic family living in...

 (one problem). He describes the process of composing and constructing in his memoir: "The strain on the mind is formidable; the element of time drops out of one's consciousness..." To him, the "originality, invention, conciseness, harmony, complexity, and splendid insincerity" of creating a chess problem was similar to that in any other art.

Politics

Nabokov described himself as a classical liberal, in the tradition of his father. Throughout his life he was profoundly opposed to all forms of socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 and fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

. In a poem he wrote in 1917, he described Lenin's Bolsheviks as "grey rag-tag people". Later, during his American period, he expressed contempt for student activism
Student activism
Student activism is work done by students to effect political, environmental, economic, or social change. It has often focused on making changes in schools, such as increasing student influence over curriculum or improving educational funding...

, and all collective movements. In both letters and interviews, he reveals a profound contempt for the New Left
New Left
The New Left was a term used mainly in the United Kingdom and United States in reference to activists, educators, agitators and others in the 1960s and 1970s who sought to implement a broad range of reforms, in contrast to earlier leftist or Marxist movements that had taken a more vanguardist...

 movements of the 1960s, describing the protestors as "conformists" and "goofy hoodlums". Nabokov also supported the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 effort and frequently voiced admiration for President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

.

Influence

The critic James Wood
James Wood (critic)
James Wood is a literary critic, essayist and novelist. he is Professor of the Practice of Literary Criticism at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine.-Background and education:...

 argued that Nabokov's use of descriptive detail proved an "overpowering, and not always very fruitful, influence on two or three generations after him", including authors such as Martin Amis
Martin Amis
Martin Louis Amis is a British novelist, the author of many novels including Money and London Fields . He is currently Professor of Creative Writing at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester, but will step down at the end of the 2010/11 academic year...

 and John Updike
John Updike
John Hoyer Updike was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic....

. While a student at Cornell in the 1950s, Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. is an American novelist. For his most praised novel, Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon received the National Book Award, and is regularly cited as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature...

 attended several of Nabokov's lectures and went on to make a direct allusion to Lolita
Lolita
Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first written in English and published in 1955 in Paris and 1958 in New York, and later translated by the author into Russian...

 in chapter six of his novel The Crying of Lot 49
The Crying of Lot 49
The Crying of Lot 49 is a novel by Thomas Pynchon, first published in 1966. The shortest of Pynchon's novels, it is about a woman, Oedipa Maas, possibly unearthing the centuries-old conflict between two mail distribution companies, Thurn und Taxis and the Trystero...

 (1966) in which Serge, counter-tenor in the band The Paranoids, sings:
What chance has a lonely surfer boy
For the love of a surfer chick,
With all these Humbert Humbert cats
Coming on so big and sick?
For me, my baby was a woman,
For him she's just another nymphet.


It has also been argued that Pynchon's prose style is influenced by Nabokov's preference for actualism over realism. Of the authors who came to prominence during Nabokov's lifetime, John Banville
John Banville
John Banville is an Irish novelist and screenwriter.Banville's breakthrough novel The Book of Evidence was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and won the Guinness Peat Aviation award. His eighteenth novel, The Sea, won the Man Booker Prize in 2005. He was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize in 2011...

, Don DeLillo
Don DeLillo
Don DeLillo is an American author, playwright, and occasional essayist whose work paints a detailed portrait of American life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries...

, Salman Rushdie, and Edmund White
Edmund White
Edmund Valentine White III is an American author and literary critic. He is a member of the faculty of Princeton University's Program in Creative Writing.- Life and work :...

 were all influenced by Nabokov.

Several authors who came to prominence in the 1990s and 2000s have also cited Nabokov's work as a literary influence. Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

-winning novelist Michael Chabon
Michael Chabon
Michael Chabon born May 24, 1963) is an American author and "one of the most celebrated writers of his generation", according to The Virginia Quarterly Review....

 listed Lolita and Pale Fire among the "books that, I thought, changed my life when I read them," and stated that "Nabokov's English combines aching lyricism with dispassionate precision in a way that seems to render every human emotion in all its intensity but never with an ounce of schmaltz or soggy language". Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides
Jeffrey Eugenides
Jeffrey Kent Eugenides is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer. Eugenides is most known for his first two novels, The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex . His novel The Marriage Plot was published in October, 2011.-Life and career:Eugenides was born in Detroit, Michigan,...

 said that "Nabokov has always been and remains one of my favorite writers. He's able to juggle ten balls where most people can juggle three or four." T. Coraghessan Boyle
T. Coraghessan Boyle
Tom Coraghessan Boyle is a U.S. novelist and short story writer. Since the mid 1970s, he has published twelve novels and more than 100 short stories...

 said that "Nabokov's playfulness and the ravishing beauty of his prose are ongoing influences" on his writing, and Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri is a Bengali American author. Lahiri's debut short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies , won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and her first novel, The Namesake , was adapted into the popular film of the same name. She was born Nilanjana Sudeshna, which she says are both...

, Marisha Pessl
Marisha Pessl
Marisha Pessl is an American writer best known for her debut novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics.Pessl was born in Clarkston, Michigan, to Klaus, an Austrian engineer for General Motors, and Anne, an American homemaker. Pessl's parents divorced when she was three, and she moved to Asheville,...

, Maxim D. Shrayer
Maxim D. Shrayer
Shrayer, Maxim D. is a bilingual Russian-American author, translator, and literary scholar, and a professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies at Boston College.-Biography:...

,Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith is a British novelist. To date she has written three novels. In 2003, she was included on Granta's list of 20 best young authors...

, and Ki Longfellow
Ki Longfellow
Ki Longfellow is an American novelist, playwright, theatrical producer, theater director and entrepreneur. In Britain, as the widow of Vivian Stanshall, she is well known as the guardian of his artistic heritage, but elsewhere she is best known for her own work, especially the novel The Secret...

 have also acknowledged Nabokov's influence.
Nabokov is featured both as an individual character and implicitly in W.G. Sebald's 1993 novel The Emigrants
The Emigrants
The Emigrants is a 1971 Swedish film directed by Jan Troell. It tells the story of a Swedish group who emigrate from Småland, Sweden to Minnesota, United States in the 19th century. The film follows the hardship of the group in Sweden and on the trip....

.

Biography

  • Boyd, Brian
    Brian Boyd
    Brian Boyd is known primarily as an expert on the life and works of author Vladimir Nabokov and on literature and evolution...

    . Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-691-06794-5 (hardback) 1997. ISBN 0-691-02470-7 (paperback). London: Chatto & Windus, 1990. ISBN 0-7011-3700-2 (hardback)
  • Boyd, Brian, Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-691-06797-X (hardback) 1993. 0-691-02471-5 (paperback). London: Chatto & Windus, 1992. ISBN 0-7011-3701-0 (hardback)
  • Ch'ien, Evelyn. See chapter, "A Shuttlecock Over the Atlantic" in "Weird English." Harvard University Press, 2004.
  • Field, Andrew. VN The Life and Art of Vladimir Nabokov. New York: Crown Publishers. 1986. ISBN 0-517-56113-1
  • Parker, Stephen Jan. Understanding Vladimir Nabokov. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. 1987. 978-0872494954.
  • Proffer, Elendea, ed. Vladimir Nabokov: A pictorial biography. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Ardis, 1991. ISBN 0-87501-078-4 (a collection of photographs)
  • Rivers, J.E., and Nicol, Charles
    Charles Nicol
    Charles Nicol is known primarily as an expert on the life and works of author Vladimir Nabokov, and also writes widely on fiction and popular culture. He is a retired Professor in the Department of English at Indiana State University.-Academic and Publishing History:Nicol has been publishing on...

    . Nabokov's Fifth Arc. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1982. ISBN 978-0292755222.
  • Schiff, Stacy
    Stacy Schiff
    Stacy Madeleine Schiff is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American nonfiction author and guest columnist for The New York Times.-Biography:...

    . Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov). New York, NY.: Random House, 1999. ISBN 0-679-44790-3.

Criticism

  • * Anatoly Livry. «Nabokov le Nietzschéen», HERMANN, Paris, 2010
  • Анатолий Ливри. Физиология Сверхчеловека. Введение в третье тысячелетие. СПб.: Алетейя, 2011. — 312 с. http://exlibris.ng.ru/non-fiction/2011-06-02/6_game.html
  • Nicol, Charles
    Charles Nicol
    Charles Nicol is known primarily as an expert on the life and works of author Vladimir Nabokov, and also writes widely on fiction and popular culture. He is a retired Professor in the Department of English at Indiana State University.-Academic and Publishing History:Nicol has been publishing on...

     and Barabtarlo, Gennady. A small alpine form: studies in Nabokov's short fiction. London, Garland, 1993. ISBN 9780815308577.
  • Rutledge, David. Nabokov's Permanent Mystery: The Expression of Metaphysics in His Work. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011.
  • Shrayer, Maxim D. The World of Nabokov's Stories. Austin and London: University of Texas Press, 1998.
  • Shrayer, Maxim D. "Jewish Questions in Nabokov's Life and Art." In: "Nabokov and His Fiction: New Perspectives." Ed. Julian W. Connolly. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. PP. 73–91.
  • Zanganeh, Lila Azam. The Enchanter: Nabokov and Happiness. New York: W. W. Norton, 2011. ISBN 9780393079920

Media adaptations

  • Peter Medak
    Peter Medak
    Peter Medak is a Hungarian-born film director of British and American films.-Early life:He was born in Budapest, Hungary to a Jewish family, but in 1956 fled his native country for England due to the Hungarian Revolution...

    's short television film, Nabokov on Kafka, is a dramatisation of Nabokov's lectures on Franz Kafka's
    Franz Kafka
    Franz Kafka was a culturally influential German-language author of short stories and novels. Contemporary critics and academics, including Vladimir Nabokov, regard Kafka as one of the best writers of the 20th century...

     The Metamorphosis
    The Metamorphosis
    The Metamorphosis is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It is often cited as one of the seminal works of short fiction of the 20th century and is widely studied in colleges and universities across the western world...

    . The part of Nabokov is played by Christopher Plummer
    Christopher Plummer
    Arthur Christopher Orne Plummer, CC is a Canadian theatre, film and television actor. He made his film debut in 1957's Stage Struck, and notable early film performances include Night of the Generals, The Return of the Pink Panther and The Man Who Would Be King.In a career that spans over five...

    .
  • Nabokov makes three cameo appearances, at widely scattered points in his life, in W. G. Sebald
    W. G. Sebald
    W. G. Maximilian Sebald was a German writer and academic. At the time of his death at the age of 57, he was being cited by many literary critics as one of the greatest living authors and had been tipped as a possible future winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature...

    's The Emigrants.
  • See Lolita
    Lolita
    Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first written in English and published in 1955 in Paris and 1958 in New York, and later translated by the author into Russian...

  • In 1972 the novel King, Queen, Knave
    King, Queen, Knave
    King, Queen, Knave is a novel written by Vladimir Nabokov , while living in Berlin and sojourning at resorts in the Baltic in 1928...

     was released as a movie
    King, Queen, Knave (film)
    King, Queen, Knave is a 1972 German comedy film directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, based on the novel of the same name by Vladimir Nabokov. It was entered into the 1972 Cannes Film Festival.-Cast:* Gina Lollobrigida as Martha Dreyer...

     directed by Jerzy Skolimowski
    Jerzy Skolimowski
    Jerzy Skolimowski is a Polish film director, screenwriter, dramatist and actor. A graduate of the prestigious National Film School in Łódź, Skolimowski has directed more than twenty films since his 1960 début Oko wykol...

     and starring Gina Lollobrigida
    Gina Lollobrigida
    Gina Lollobrigida is an Italian actress, photojournalist and sculptress. She was one of the most popular European actresses of the 1950s and early 1960s. She was also an iconic sex symbol of the 1950s. Today, she remains an active supporter of Italian and Italian American causes, particularly the...

    , David Niven
    David Niven
    James David Graham Niven , known as David Niven, was a British actor and novelist, best known for his roles as Phileas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days and Sir Charles Lytton, a.k.a. "the Phantom", in The Pink Panther...

     and John Moulder-Brown
  • In 1978 the novel Despair
    Despair (novel)
    Despair was written by Vladimir Nabokov and originally published as a serial in Sovremennye Zapiski during 1934. It was then published as a book in 1936 and later translated to English by the author in 1937. Most copies of the 1937 English translation of the book were destroyed by German bombs,...

     was adapted by Tom Stoppard
    Tom Stoppard
    Sir Tom Stoppard OM, CBE, FRSL is a British playwright, knighted in 1997. He has written prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, finding prominence with plays such as Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Professional Foul, The Real Thing, and Rosencrantz and...

     for the movie directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
    Rainer Werner Fassbinder
    Rainer Werner Maria Fassbinder was a German movie director, screenwriter and actor. He is considered one of the most important representatives of the New German Cinema.He maintained a frenetic pace in film-making...

    .
  • In 1986 his first novel Mary (in Russian Maschenka) was loosely adapted for the movie Maschenka starring Cary Elwes.

Entomology

  • Johnson, Kurt, and Steve Coates. Nabokov's blues: The scientific odyssey of a literary genius. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-137330-6 (very accessibly written)
  • Sartori, Michel, ed. Les Papillons de Nabokov. [The butterflies of Nabokov.] Lausanne: Musée cantonal de Zoologie, 1993. ISBN 2-9700051-0-7 (exhibition catalogue, primarily in English)
  • Zimmer, Dieter E. A guide to Nabokov's butterflies and moths. Privately published, 2001. ISBN 3-00-007609-3 (web page)

Further reading

  • Deroy, Chloé, Vladimir Nabokov, Icare russe et Phénix américain (2010). Dijon: EUD
  • Gezari, Janet K.; Wimsatt, W. K., "Vladimir Nabokov: More Chess Problems and the Novel", Yale French Studies, No. 58, In Memory of Jacques Ehrmann: Inside Play Outside Game (1979), pp. 102–115, Yale University Press.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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