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Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov was born on April 22, 1899, to an aristocratic Russian family in Saint Petersburg. Following the 1917 revolution, his family fled to Berlin, where his father, a liberal politician, was subsequently assassinated by far-right Tsarist supporters. After graduating from the University of Cambridge, Nabokov published his first novel, Mary, in 1926, and published six books before his first major work, Invitation to a Beheading, was released in 1936. Following the rise of Nazism in Germany, he and his family escaped first to France and then the United States. In 1941, he joined the faculty of Wellesley College in Massachusetts; his first English-language novels were also published around this time. Nabokov, who was raised in a trilingual household, frequently employs linguistic wordplay in his work, as well as critique of poshlost, which Nabokov defined to The Paris Review in 1967 as “Corny trash, vulgar clichés, Philistinism in all its phases, imitations of imitations, bogus profundities, crude, moronic, and dishonest pseudo-literature.” Following the move to the U.S., he wrote Pnin (1957), Pale Fire (1962), Ada or Ardor (1969), and his most famous novel, Lolita (1955), which details the seduction of a twelve-year-old American girl by a middle-age European emigré. After the success of Lolita, he returned to Europe with his wife, editor, and translator, Vera Nabokov, and died in 1977 in Switzerland.

 

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