When Vladimir Nabokov died in 1977, he left instructions for his heirs to burn the 138 handwritten index cards that made up the rough draft of his final and unfinished novel, The Original of Laura. But Nabokov's wife, Vera, could not bear to destroy her husband's last work, and when she died, the fate of the manuscript fell to her son. Dmitri Nabokov, now seventy-five--the Russian novelist's only surviving heir, and translator of many of his books--has wrestled for three decades with the decision of whether to honor his father's wish or preserve for posterity the last piece of writing of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. His decision finally to allow publication of the fragmented narrative--dark yet playful, preoccupied with mortality--affords us one last experience of Nabokov's magnificent creativity, the quintessence of his unparalleled body of work.Photos of the handwritten index cards accompany the text. They are perforated and can be removed and rearranged, as the author likely did when he was writing the novel. From the Hardcover edition.
In Pale Fire Nabokov offers a cornucopia of deceptive pleasures: a 999-line poem by the reclusive genius John Shade; an adoring foreword and commentary by Shade's self-styled Boswell, Dr. Charles Kinbote; a darkly comic novel of suspense, literary idolatry and one-upmanship, and political intrigue.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Pnin is a professor of Russian at an American college who takes the wrong train to deliver a lecture in a language he cannot master. Pnin is a tireless lover who writes to his treacherous Liza: "A genius needs to keep so much in store, and thus cannot offer you the whole of himself as I do." Pnin is the focal point of subtle academic conspiracies he cannot begin to comprehend, yet he stages a faculty party to end all faculty parties forever.From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." -- John UpdikeThe Real Life of Sebastian Knight is a perversely magical literary detective story -- subtle, intricate, leading to a tantalizing climax -- about the mysterious life of a famous writer. Many people knew things about Sebastian Knight as a distinguished novelist, but probably fewer than a dozen knew of the two love affairs that so profoundly influenced his career, the second one in such a disastrous way. After Knight's death, his half brother sets out to penetrate the enigma of his life, starting with a few scanty clues in the novelist's private papers. His search proves to be a story as intriguing as any of his subject's own novels, as baffling, and, in the end, as uniquely rewarding.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In this collection of 13 short stories Vladimir Nabokov reflects upon the Russian "emigre" world of the 20s and 30s. Disconsolate, uprooted characters make up a tapestry which is shot through with nostalgia and irony. The stories are: A Russian Beauty, The Leonardo, Torpid Smoke, Breaking the News, Lips to Lips, The Visit to the Museum, An Affair of Honor, Terra Incognita, A Dashing Fellow, Ultima Thule, Solus Rex, The Potato Elf, and The Circle.
Though we know Vladimir Nabokov as a brilliant novelist, his first love was poetry. This landmark collection brings together the best of his verse, including many pieces that have never before appeared in English. These poems span the whole of Nabokov's career, from the newly discovered "Music," written in 1914, to the short, playful "To Véra," composed in 1974. Many are newly translated by Dmitri Nabokov, including The University Poem, a sparkling novel in verse modeled on Pushkin's Eugene Onegin that constitutes a significant new addition to Nabokov's oeuvre. Included too are such poems as "Lilith", an early work which broaches the taboo theme revisited nearly forty years later in Lolita, and "An Evening of Russian Poetry", a masterpiece in which Nabokov movingly mourns his lost language in the guise of a versified lecture on Russian delivered to college girls. The subjects range from the Russian Revolution to the American refrigerator, taking in on the way motel rooms, butterflies, ice-skating, love, desire, exile, loneliness, language, and poetry itself; and the poet whirls swiftly between the brilliantly painted facets of his genius, wearing masks that are, by turns, tender, demonic, sincere, self-parodying, shamanic, visionary, and ingeniously domestic.
The Song of Igor's Campaign is the most imaginative, celebrated, and studied work of early Russian literature. it describes a chivalric expedition undertaken in the late twelfth century by a minor prince in the land of Rus' to defeat, against overwhelming odds, a powerful alliance in a neighboring territory. The anonymous poet who chronicled this adventure packed unprecedented metaphorical agility, keenness of observation, and fascinating imagery into the lean and powerful tale of the doomed campaign. Discovered in the late eighteenth century and only narrowly distributed, the original manuscript was destroyed in a fire, leading to endless debate about the provenance and authenticity of extant versions. it also served as the basis of Borodin's opera Prince Igor. Translated by Vladimir Nabokov, the verses that constitute The Song of Igor's Campaign are presented in their original rhyme and meter, and Nabokov's extensive annotations provide illumination on all aspects of text.
Speak, Memory, first published in 1951 as Conclusive Evidence and then assiduously revised in 1966, is an elegant and rich evocation of Nabokov's life and times, even as it offers incisive insights into his major works, including Lolita, Pnin, Despair, The Gift, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, and The Defense. From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the writer who shocked and delighted the world with his novels Lolita, Pale Fire, and Ada, or Ardor, and so many others, comes a magnificent collection of stories. Written between the 1920s and 1950s, these sixty-five tales--eleven of which have been translated into English for the first time--display all the shades of Nabokov's imagination. They range from sprightly fables to bittersweet tales of loss, from claustrophobic exercises in horror to a connoisseur's samplings of the table of human folly. Read as a whole, The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov offers and intoxicating draft of the master's genius, his devious wit, and his ability to turn language into an instrument of ecstasy.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In this collection of interviews, articles, and editorials, Nabokov ranges over his life, art, education, politics, literature, movies, and modern times, among other subjects. Strong Opinions offers his trenchant, witty, and always engaging views on everything from the Russian Revolution to the correct pronunciation of Lolita.From the Trade Paperback edition.
For the first time in English, Vladimir Nabokov's earliest major work, written when he was only twenty-four: his only full-length play, introduced by Thomas Karshan and beautifully translated by Karshan and Anastasia Tolstoy. The Tragedy of Mister Morn was written in the winter of 1923-1924, when Nabokov was completely unknown. The five-act play--the story of an incognito king whose love for the wife of a banished revolutionary brings on the chaos the king has fought to prevent--was never published in Nabokov's lifetime and lay in manuscript until it appeared in a Russian literary journal in 1997. It is an astonishingly precocious work, in exquisite verse, touching for the first time on what would become this great writer's major themes: intense sexual desire and jealousy, the elusiveness of happiness, the power of the imagination, and the eternal battle between truth and fantasy. The play is Nabokov's major response to the Russian Revolution, which he had lived through, but it approaches the events of 1917 above all through the prism of Shakespearean tragedy.
"Transparent Things revolves around the four visits of the hero--sullen, gawky Hugh Person--to Switzerland . . . As a young publisher, Hugh is sent to interview R., falls in love with Armande on the way, wrests her, after multiple humiliations, from a grinning Scandinavian and returns to NY with his bride. . . . Eight years later--following a murder, a period of madness and a brief imprisonment--Hugh makes a lone sentimental journey to wheedle out his past. . . . The several strands of dream, memory, and time [are] set off against the literary theorizing of R. and, more centrally, against the world of observable objects." --Martin AmisFrom the Trade Paperback edition.
Vintage Readers are a perfect introduction to some of the greatest modern writers presented in attractive, accessible paperback editions. "It was Nabokov's gift to bring paradise wherever he alighted." --John Updike, The New York Review of BooksNovelist, poet, critic, translator, and, above all, a peerless imaginer, Vladimir Nabokov was arguably the most dazzling prose stylist of the twentieth century. In novels like Lolita, Pale Fire, and Ada, or Ardor, he turned language into an instrument of ecstasy.Vintage Nabokov includes sections 1-10 of his most famous and controversial novel, Lolita; the stories "The Return of Chorb," "The Aurelian," "A Forgotten Poet," "Time and Ebb," "Signs and Symbols," "The Vane Sisters," and "Lance"; and chapter 12 from his memoir Speak, Memory.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Over four hundred letters chronicle the author's career, recording his struggles in the publishing world, the battles over "Lolita," and his relationship with his wife.
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