Vladimir Nabokov: Selected Letters 1940-1977

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9780297810346: Vladimir Nabokov: Selected Letters 1940-1977

More than 400 letters documenting Vladimir Nabokov's rise from impoverished refugee to literary giant.

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Review:

If Vladimir Nabokov's fiction merits any criticism, it is for its iciness. The master himself declared in a 1977 BBC interview, "My characters cringe as I come near them with my whip. I have seen a whole avenue of imagined trees losing their leaves at the threat of my passage." Nabokov's correspondence, however, reveals a far warmer individual, though one ever-ready with a verbal shiv. This volume begins with a 1923 letter to his mother, written while he was a farmhand in the French Alps, and ends with a 1977 letter sent to his wife, Vera, for Mother's Day: "My dearest, your roses, your fragrant rubies, glow red against a background of spring rain..."

Nabokov's son, Dmitri, and Matthew Bruccoli have created the fullest, and by far the most amusing, portrait of the serious artist as trickster. There's the famous letter to Burma-Vita, in which Nabokov offers the company an advertising jingle (alas, they turned him down). There's the best, and most amusing, account of "l'affaire Lolita." Here is his response to his New Yorker editor, Katharine White: "Let me thank you very warmly for your frank and charming letter about LOLITA. But after all how many are the memorable literary characters whom we would like our teen-age daughters to meet? Would you like our Patricia to go on a date with Othello? Would we like our Mary to read the New Testament temple against temple with Raskolnikov? Would we like our sons to marry Emma Rouault, Becky Sharp or La belle dame sans merci?"

In another letter, however, he takes care to thank White for a "chubby check." (One wishes this phrase had gained greater circulation.) Nabokov again and again comes off as a difficult author, challenging his publishers left, right, and center over issues large (and there were many) and as well as those that were niggling. Calling the British paperback cover of Laughter in the Dark "atrocious, disgusting, and badly drawn besides having nothing to do whatever with the contents of the book," he tells his U.K. publisher, "I would appreciate if you would use your influence and have them substitute a pretty dark-haired girl, or a palmtree, or a winding road, or anything else for this tasteless abomination." Still, one is most often convinced that he's right, even when he makes the large claim that the French film Les Nymphettes infringes on his rights, "since this term was invented by me for the main character in my novel Lolita."

Not only is this volume endlessly quotable, it also reads like a great epistolary novel--fraught with high thought, high drama, and the delightfully unexpected. Who would have guessed that Nabokov would ask Hugh Hefner, "Have you ever noticed how the head and ears of your Bunny resemble a butterfly in shape, with an eyespot on one hindwing?"

About the Author:

Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born poet, novelist, literary critic, translator, and essayist was awarded the National Medal for Literature for his life's work in 1973. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. He is the author of many works including Lolita, Pale Fire, Ada, and Speak, Memory.

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Nabokov, Vladimir
ISBN 10: 0297810340 ISBN 13: 9780297810346
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Book Description Hardback. Book Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Bookseller Inventory # GOR003594576

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Vladimir Nabokov
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Book Description Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990. Book Condition: Good. This is an ex-library book and may have the usual library/used-book markings inside.This book has hardback covers. In good all round condition. Dust Jacket in good condition. , 1250grams, ISBN:9780297810346. Bookseller Inventory # 6969885

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Nabokov, Vladimir
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Book Description Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000069363

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Nabokov, Vladimir:
Published by London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, (1990)
ISBN 10: 0297810340 ISBN 13: 9780297810346
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Book Description London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1990. Book Condition: Gut. XXVI, 582 S. Umschlag berieben, sonst gutes Exemplar. - Vladimir Nabokov's rise from impoverished World War II refugee to literary giant is vividly documented in this volume of more than 400 letters. Although he had published a substantial body of emigre work in Russian, Nabokov was virtually unknown when he arrived in America in 1940, and he earned a living as a teacher and lepidopterist while mastering English. It was only in 1958, with the US publication of Lolita, that he was able to devote full time to writing his later masterpieces, including Pale Fire and Ada. The letters trace Nabokov's struggles with publishers and editors to preserve his artistic integrity and to achieve a readership for his work. They record his protracted battle to overcome the suppression of Lolita, to ensure accuracy in the translation of his own and other authors' work, and to maintain uncompromising standards for literature. These standards demanded of him - and received - inflexible fealty. His letters also provided a repository for his convictions about literature, other writers, and artistic and personal freedom. He denounced 'frauds' (a favourite term of contempt) and scorned literary fashions. In addition to their value as literary history, Vladimir Nabokov's letters reveal a loving father and devoted husband. Ultimately, his wife, Vera - who approved this volume and footnoted many of the letters - was the only one whose judgement mattered to him. His struggle and triumph were equally hers. Nabokov's son, Dmitri, has written an eloquent introduction. The volume is illustrated with more than 40 photos, facsimiles of letters and butterfly drawings. ISBN 9780297810346 Wir versenden am Tag der Bestellung von Montag bis Freitag. Sprache: Deutsch Gewicht in Gramm: 550 Originalleinen mit Schutzumschlag. Bookseller Inventory # 1064809

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Nabokov, Vladimir (edited by Dmitri Nabokov & Matthew J. Bruccoli)
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd, London (1990)
ISBN 10: 0297810340 ISBN 13: 9780297810346
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Book Description Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd, London, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition. Brown boards with bright Gilt titling to the spine. In the original publisher's pictorial dustjacket. The dustjacket is NOT price-clipped. Ex-REFERENCE Library with minimal library markings = One Label with a 'Discard' stamp, a Faint line of printed numbers and traces of a small label removed from the front free endpaper, plus a faint date and traces of a label removed from the foot of the rear free endpaper, and a library stamp at the very end of the text, but NO other library - or other - markings. Internally apart from the markings just noted there are NO Inscriptions or Marks. (xxvi) + 582 pp. Illustrated in b/w. Contents cover: -Introduction; Editorial Notes; Chronology; Letters written in Germany and France, 1923-1939; Letters, 1940-1977; Index. Apart from It's status as an Ex-Ref Library copy (minimal) , this is an Excellent Very Clean, Tight and Bright Near 'Fine' copy. " More than four hundred letters chronicle the development of Nabokov's literary career, recording his struggles in the publishing world, the battles over "Lolita," and his relationship with his wife. ". ; Ex-Library; Large 8vo 9" - 10" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 110186

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Nabokov, Vladimir
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Book Description London: Weidenfels an Nicolson, 1990 (1. ed.)., 1990. xxvi, 582 pp. with frontispiece and b/w photographs on plates. Large octavo, original cloth with dust wrapper. In excellent condition. - - - BITTE BEACHTEN SIE: Auf Grund der besonderen Versandkostenvorgaben von AbeBooks und ZVAB (der Preis richtet sich nicht nach Gewicht, sondern nach Anzahl der Artikel), kann es bei schwereren oder mehrbändigen Werken zu höheren Portokosten kommen. BEI UNSICHERHEIT FRAGEN SIE UNS BITTE ZUVOR AN. - - - PLEASE NOTE: Because of AbeBooks' and ZVAB?S special requirements for shipping fees (price is per item, not per weight) shipping charges may be higher with heavy books or when comprising several volumes. PLEASE CONTACT US BEFOREHAND IN CASE OF UNCERTAINTY. - - - 1340 g 1. Bookseller Inventory # 30881

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