The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov

( 4 )

Overview

From the writer who shocked and delighted the world with his novels Lolita, Pale Fire,
and Ada, or Ardor, and so many others, comes a magnificent collection of stories. Written between the 1920s and 1950s, these sixty-five tales--eleven of which have been translated into English for the first time--display all the shades of Nabokov's imagination. They range from sprightly fables to bittersweet tales of loss, from claustrophobic exercises in horror to a connoisseur's samplings ...
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The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov

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Overview

From the writer who shocked and delighted the world with his novels Lolita, Pale Fire,
and Ada, or Ardor, and so many others, comes a magnificent collection of stories. Written between the 1920s and 1950s, these sixty-five tales--eleven of which have been translated into English for the first time--display all the shades of Nabokov's imagination. They range from sprightly fables to bittersweet tales of loss, from claustrophobic exercises in horror to a connoisseur's samplings of the table of human folly. Read as a whole, The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov offers and intoxicating draft of the master's genius, his devious wit, and his ability to turn language into an instrument of ecstasy.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Eleven of the 65 short stories by the exiled Russian master see their English-language debut here. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Presented here are 65 stories from the master, the author of one of the best and strangest novels in the history of fiction-Pale Fire-as well as Lolita, Ada, Pnin, et al. Thirteen of these stories appear here for the first time in book form, although these early pieces are of less interest than the later ones, which contain all the linguistic and psychological twists for which Nabokov is famous. The earliest stories date from the 1920s and the latest from the 1950s, when Nabokov abandoned the form. Because of the editorial care taken by Nabokov's son Dmitri, this should appeal even to libraries fortunate enough still to own the earlier collections (Nabokov's Dozen, 1984; A Russian Beauty & Other Stories, 1973; Tyrants Destroyed & Other Stories, 1975; and Details of a Sunset & Other Stories, 1976). One could hope that a new movie version of Lolita currently in production will rekindle interest in Nabokov. An essential purchase.-Robert E. Brown, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y.
Michiko Kakutani
In this sumptuous volume of 65 stories...the reader is treated to a recapitulation of the sorcerer's entire career. His fascination with the illusive transactions made between life and art, his obsession with memory and the practice of nostalgia, his own experience of expatriation, and his love of games of puzzles and coincidence -- all can be found in these pages. -- The New York Times
John Updike
"What startling beauty phrase, twist of thought, depth of sorrow and burst of wit!...It was Navakov's gift to bring Paradise wherever he alighted." -- The New York Times Book Review
Michiko Kakutani
"In this sumptious volume of 65 stories...the reader is treated to a recapitulation of the Sorcerer's entire career. His fascination with illusive transactions made between life and art, his obsession with memory and the practice of nostalgia, his own experience of expatriation, and his love of games and puzzels and coincidence -- all can be found in these pages." -- The New York Times
Anthony Lane
"A startling, close view of a writer's development..There is an unequal pleasure (in) submitting to Navakov in full flow, when his words boil like a witches brew of music and sex...This collection marks a crucial move in the endless game of trying to fathom Navakov." -- The New Yorker
R.Z. Sheppard
"An authentic literary event...a welcome addition to the shelves of old and mirue. An chance for intrigue - level fans to sample the author's real life...(with) some of the most nape-tingling prose and devilish inventions in it twentieth-century letters." -- Time
From Barnes & Noble
Drawn from ealier collections and including eleven stories never before translated into English, this anthology of 65 stories demonstrates the brillant prose style of one on our century's greatest writers. Edited by Nabokov's son and translator, Dmitri.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679729976
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/20/1997
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Pages: 704
  • Sales rank: 197,643
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

One of the twentieth century’s master prose stylists, Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg in 1899. He studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, where he launched a brilliant literary career. In 1940 he moved to the United States, and achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic and translator. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. In 1961 he moved to Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1977.

Biography

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was born on April 23, 1899, in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Nabokovs were known for their high culture and commitment to public service, and the elder Nabokov was an outspoken opponent of antisemitism and one of the leaders of the opposition party, the Kadets. In 1919, following the Bolshevik revolution, he took his family into exile. Four years later he was shot and killed at a political rally in Berlin while trying to shield the speaker from right-wing assassins.

The Nabokov household was trilingual, and as a child Nabokov was already reading Wells, Poe, Browning, Keats, Flaubert, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Tolstoy, and Chekhov, alongside the popular entertainments of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne. As a young man, he studied Slavic and romance languages at Trinity College, Cambridge, taking his honors degree in 1922. For the next eighteen years he lived in Berlin and Paris, writing prolifically in Russian under the pseudonym Sirin and supporting himself through translations, lessons in English and tennis, and by composing the first crossword puzzles in Russian. In 1925 he married Vera Slonim, with whom he had one child, a son, Dmitri.

Having already fled Russia and Germany, Nabokov became a refugee once more in 1940, when he was forced to leave France for the United States. There he taught at Wellesley, Harvard, and Cornell. He also gave up writing in Russian and began composing fiction in English. In his afterword to Lolita he claimed: "My private tragedy, which cannot, and indeed should not, be anybody's concern, is that I had to abandon my natural idiom, my untrammeled, rich, and infinitely docile Russian tongue for a second-rate brand of English, devoid of any of those apparatuses -- the baffling mirror, the black velvet backdrop, the implied associations and traditions -- which the native illusionist, frac-tails flying, can magically use to transcend the heritage in his own way." [p. 317] Yet Nabokov's American period saw the creation of what are arguably his greatest works, Bend Sinister (1947), Lolita (1955), Pnin (1957), and Pale Fire (1962), as well as the translation of his earlier Russian novels into English. He also undertook English translations of works by Lermontov and Pushkin and wrote several books of criticism. Vladimir Nabokov died in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1977.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Vladimir Sirin
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 23, 1899
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Petersburg, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      July 2, 1977
    2. Place of Death:
      Montreux, Switzerland

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 1, 2012

    Memory holds the important things

    Our memories are the important things, people and places our minds and hearts have selected to sustain us and others. There are so many things Mr. Nabokov has remembered for and about us in these pages it's unsettling to pick only one or two in a blurb - online, no less. He knows how to look at events or items and see how we will appreciate them one day. A Guide to Berlin is an early story that shows how some of the most mundane things may look to us in a future museum of, say, a streetcar in a museum of transportation (as I said, mundane today but perhaps wistful after the disappearance of its ilk). For him literary creation is "to find in the objects around us the fragrant tenderness that only posterity will discern and appreciate in the far-off times when every trifle of our plain everday life will become exquisite and festive in its own right". I like that phrase "fragrant tenderness". And he writes about so much more than just streetcars. By the way, if you like complexity for more than its own sake try Lolita. Humbert, the narrator, lovingly recalls his overwhelming and mostly unrepentant memories (see the last page for the only one) of the misery and ruin he gave to that young girl who only struggled to survive a little while beyond his clenching grasp. It's as if Poe had risen to the level of Shakespeare or Pushkin and created a picture of a man damning himself in his revels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2000

    simply amazing...

    This book began my love affair with the written word. Nabokov's short prose soars with a singularly intense beauty. An excellent introduction to his writing for those not familiar and a must have for fans because it contains all of his previously published stories plus some newly translated ones.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

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    Posted December 6, 2010

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