Vladimir Nabokov was always a controversial writer. Long before the furore that attended the publication of Lolita, controversy raged over the virtues of his work. His detractors insisted that, although he wrote nine Russian novels, he had forsaken the humanistic concerns of the Russian literary tradition, while his supporters claimed that his work actually extended and enriched that tradition. David Rampton faces these apparent contradictions head on and, adopting a more detached, critical perspective than is usually found in writing on Nabokov, he tries to reach a more balanced, integrated view of the novelist's achievement. Rampton assembles evidence from Nabokov's own critical writings to show that the relationship of art to human life is central to Nabokov's work. He pursues this argument through a close reading of novels from different stages of Nabokov's career. What emerges is a provocative and stimulating revaluation of Nabokov that will interest any serious student of twentieth-century literature.
Table of ContentsPreface; 1. Introduction; 2. Invitation to a Beheading and Bend Sinister; 3. The Gift; 4. Lolita; 5. Ada; 6. Pale Fire, Transparent Things, and Look at The Harlequins!; Notes; Select bibliography; Index.