Nabokov, Vladimir (Vladimirovich)


Nabokov, Vladimir (Vladimirovich)

biographical name

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Nabokov, 1968—© Philippe Halsman

(born April 22, 1899, St. Petersburg, Russia—died July 2, 1977, Montreux, Switz.) Russian-born U.S novelist and critic. Born to an aristocratic family, he had an English-speaking governess. He published two collections of verse before leaving Russia in 1919 for Cambridge University, but by 1925 he had turned to prose as his main genre. During 1919–40 he lived in England, Germany, and France. His life before he moved to the U.S. in 1940 is recalled in his superb autobiography, Speak, Memory (1951). Beginning with King, Queen, Knave (1928), his writing began to feature intricate stylistic devices. His novels are principally concerned with the problem of art itself, presented in various disguises, as in Invitation to a Beheading (1938). Parody is frequent in The Gift (1937–38) and later works. His novels written in English include the notorious and greatly admired best-seller Lolita (1955), which brought him wealth and international fame; Pale Fire (1962); and Ada (1969). His critical works include a monumental translation of and commentary on Aleksandr Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, 4 vol. (1964).

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