The Real Life of Sebastian Knight was Nabokov’s first novel in English. He wrote it in Paris, in late 1938 and early 1939, while in the meantime making efforts towards moving to an English-speaking country. At that stage he thought of moving to England, which may in some part account for the setting of Sebastian […]
Lolita (1955), Nabokov’s single most famous work, is one of the most controversial and widely read books of its time. Funny, satiric, poignant, filled with allusions to earlier American writers, it is the “confession” of a middle-aged, sophisticated European émigré’s passionate obsession with a 12-year-old American “nymphet,” and the story of their wanderings across a late 1940s America of highways and motels.
Pnin (1957) is a comic masterpiece about a gentle, bald Russian émigré professor in an American college town who is never quite able to master its language, its politics, or its train schedule. Nabokov’s years as a teacher provided rich background for this satirical picture of academic life, with an unforgettable figure at its center: “It was the world that was absent-minded and it was Pnin whose business it was to set it straight. His life was a constant war with insensate objects that fell apart, or attacked him, or refused to function, or viciously got themselves lost as soon as they entered the sphere of his existence.”
Pale Fire (1962) is a tour de force in the form of an ostensibly autobiographical poem by a recently deceased American poet and a critical commentary by an academic who is something other than what he seems. Its unique structure, pitting artist against seemingly worshipful critic, sets the stage for some of Nabokov’s most intricate games of deception and concealment.
The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, the first novel Nabokov wrote in English, published a year after he settled in the US, is a tantalizing literary mystery in which a writer’s half brother searches to unravel the enigma of the life of a famous author.
Bend Sinister (1947), Nabokov’s most explicitly political novel, is the haunting, dreamlike story of Adam Krug, a quiet philosophy professor caught up in the bureaucratic bungling of a totalitarian police state. “I am neither a didacticist nor an allegorizer,” Nabokov affirms in his introduction to the novel, but goes on to state: “There can be distinguished, no doubt, certain reflections in the glass caused by idiotic and despicable regimes that we all know and that have brushed against me in the course of my life: worlds of tyranny and torture, of Fascists and Bolshevists, of Philistine thinkers and jack-booted baboons.”
Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited (1951; revised 1966), Nabokov’s memoir of his childhood in imperial Russia and exile in Europe, is central to an understanding of his art. “I have to make a rapid inventory of the universe…I have to have all space and all time participate in my emotion, in my mortal love,” he writes toward the end of the book, “so that the edge of its mortality is taken off, thus helping me to fight the utter degradation, ridicule, and horror of having developed an infinity of sensation and thought within a finite existence.”
Worden schakers sowieso gek? Van de schakers die ik vroeger volgde, zoals Victor Kortsjnoi, Anatoly Karpov of Jan Timman, is er toch niemand gek geworden. Bobby Fischer vertoonde een zeer excentriek gedrag, dat wel. Misschien Garry Kasparov, omdat je toch een beetje gek moet zijn om politieke oppositie tegen Poetin te wagen. De verdediging Toch […]
De roman van Gajto Gazdanov, Het fantoom van Alexander Wolf, wordt vereerd met een eigen website waar de beide uitgevers zich verantwoorden: Wij begrijpen uw vraag: Waarom geven twee verschillende uitgeverijen samen een boek uit? Het antwoord is eenvoudig: omdat wij, de uitgevers van Uitgeverij Cossee en Lebowski Publishers, Christoph Buchwald en Oscar van Gelderen, […]
Lolita Vladimir Nabokov taal: Engelsgepubliceerd door: A. Knopfeerste editie: gedrukt: 1992verworven: 2001bindwijze: gebondenisbn: 0679410430verworven via: Barnes and Noble More by Vladimir Nabokov.
AdaTransparent ThingsLook at the Harlequins! Vladimir Nabokov taal: Engelsgepubliceerd door: Library of Americaeerste editie: gedrukt: 1996verworven: 2001bindwijze: gebondenisbn: 1883011205verworven via: Barnes and Noble More by Vladimir Nabokov.
Spurred on by admiration for his novelist half-brother and irritation at the biography written about him by Mr Goodman — “his slapdash and very misleading book” — the narrator sets out to record Sebastian Knight’s life as he understands it. But buried amid the extensive quoting, digressions, seeming explanations and digs, Sebastian’s erratic and troubled persona remains as elusive as ever.
Nabokov’s first novel written in English, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is a nuanced, enigmatic potrayal of the conflict between the real and the unreal, and the futile quest for human truth.