Definitions

Nabokov

Nabokov

[nuh-baw-kuhf, nab-uh-kawf, -kof; Russ. nuh-baw-kuhf]
Nabokov, Vladimir, 1899-1977, Russian-American author, b. St. Petersburg, Russia. He emigrated to England after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and graduated from Cambridge in 1922. He moved to the United States in 1940. From 1948 to 1959 he was professor of Russian literature at Cornell. He moved to Switzerland in 1959.

One of the great novelists of the 20th cent., Nabokov was an extraordinarily imaginative writer, often experimenting with the form of the novel. Although his works are frequently obscure and puzzling—filled with grotesque incidents, word games, and literary allusions—they are always erudite, witty, and intriguing. Before 1940, Nabokov wrote in Russian under the name V. Sirin. Among his early novels are Mary (1926, tr. 1970) and Invitation to a Beheading (1938, tr. 1959). His first book in English was The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (1938).

Nabokov's most widely known work is undoubtedly Lolita (1958). The story of a middle-aged European intellectual's infatuation with a 12-year-old American "nymphet," Lolita was considered scandalous when it was first published. Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (1969) is a philosophical novel that is both the chronicle of a long incestuous love affair and a probe into the nature of time. Among Nabokov's other novels are Bend Sinister (1947), Pnin (1957), Transparent Things (1972), and Look at the Harlequins! (1974). His unfinished final novel, which he wanted destroyed, was published as The Original of Laura (2009).

Nabokov's volumes of poetry include Poems and Problems (1970). Among collections of his short stories are Nine Stories (1947), Nabokov's Dozen (1958), and A Russian Beauty (1973); many of them are gathered in The Stories of Vladimir Nobokov (1995). Among his other works are a critical study of Gogol (1944); translations from the Russian, notably a four-volume version of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin (1964); and several autobiographical volumes, most notably Speak, Memory (1966). His college lectures, posthumously published, include Lectures on Literature: British, French, and German Writers (1980) and Lectures on Russian Literature (1981). He also achieved an international reputation as a lepidopterist.

See selected letters ed. by M. J. Bruccoli and D. Nabokov (1989); biography by B. Boyd (2 vol., 1990-91); studies by A. Field (1967), W. W. Rowe (1971), D. Fowler (1974), L. Toker (1989), and M. Wood (1995); B. Boyd and R. M. Pyle, ed., Nabokov's Butterflies (2000). See also biography of his wife by S. Schiff (1999).

Nabokov, 1968

(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).

Learn more about Nabokov, Vladimir (Vladimirovich) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Nabokov, 1968

(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).

Learn more about Nabokov, Vladimir (Vladimirovich) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Nabokov may refer to:

People with the Nabokov last name:

  • Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (1899 – 1977), a Russian-American author.
  • Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov (1870 – 1922), a Russian criminologist, journalist, and liberal politician, and father of Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov.
  • Nicolas Nabokov (1903-1978), Russian-American composer, cousin of Vladimir Nabokov.
  • Dmitri Nabokov, singer and author, son of author Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov and grandson of politician Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov
  • Evgeni Nabokov, a professional ice hockey player, playing as a goaltender for the San Jose Sharks in the National Hockey League.
  • Dominique Nabokov, a photographer whose pictures of contemporary cultural figures often appear in the New York Review of Books.

Others:

  • Nabokov's Dozen (1958), a collection of 13 short stories by Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov previously published in American magazines.
  • Nabokov's Congeries, a collection of work by Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov published in 1968 and reprinted in 1971 as The Portable Nabokov.
  • 7232 Nabokov, an asteroid discovered October 20, 1985.

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