In this collection of interviews, articles, and editorials, Nabokov ranges over his life, art, education, politics, literature, movies, and modern times, among other subjects. Strong Opinions offers his trenchant, witty, and always engaging views on everything from the Russian Revolution to the correct pronunciation of Lolita.
About the Author
Vladimir 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 anti-Semitism 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 18 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. His most notable works include 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.
Date of Birth:April 23, 1899
Date of Death:July 2, 1977
Place of Birth:St. Petersburg, Russia
Place of Death:Montreux, Switzerland
Education:Trinity College, Cambridge, 1922
What People are Saying About This
Navakov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I would recommend this to anyone, whether you like Nabokov or not. It's a sort of scapbook of interviews, essays, articles, and other such stuff. Basically, one of the great genuises of world literature speaks his mind on all kinds of topics, from the trivial to the profound. Nabokov's deadpan wit is scathing and absolutely hilarious in regards to Freud, modern art, fashionable Russion writers, "poetic" translations, symbolism in literary analysis, modern poetry, and all manner of sacred cows. He is perhaps at his funniest when actually critiquing his poor interviewers for their innocent preconceptions of words like "reality", or "conformity". His mind is a treasure-trove of the weird, disturbing, and absurd. Bizzare facts about tapeworms and the torture of exotic songbirds are placed alongside lepidoptera and literature. Simply one of the best books of essays ever compiled.