About Vladimir Nabokov: Novels 1955-1962 (LOA #88)
This Library of America volume is the second of three volumes presenting the most authoritative versions of the English works of the brilliant Russian émigré, Vladimir Nabokov.
Lolita (1955), Nabokov’s single most famous work, is one of the most controversial and widely read books of its time. Funny, satiric, poignant, filled with allusions to earlier American writers, it is the “confession” of a middle-aged, sophisticated European émigré’s passionate obsession with a twelve-year-old American “nymphet,” and the story of their wanderings across a late 1940s America of highways and motels. (Nabokov’s film adaptation of Lolita, as originally written for director Stanley Kubrick, is also included.) Pnin (1957) is a comic masterpiece about a gentle, bald Russian émigré professor in an American college town who is never quite able to master its language, its politics, or its train schedule. Nabokov’s years as a teacher provided rich background for this satirical picture of academic life, with an unforgettable figure at its center: “It was the world that was absent-minded and it was Pnin whose business it was to set it straight. His life was a constant war with insensate objects that fell apart, or attacked him, or refused to function, or viciously got themselves lost as soon as they entered the sphere of his existence.”
Pale Fire (1962) is a tour de force in the form of an ostensibly autobiographical poem by a recently deceased American poet and a critical commentary by an academic who is something other than what he seems. Its unique structure, pitting artist against seemingly worshipful critic, sets the stage for some of Nabokov’s most intricate games of deception and concealment.
The texts of this volume incorporate Nabokov’s penciled corrections in his own copies of his works which correct long-standing errors, and have been prepared with the assistance of Dmitri Nabokov, the novelist’s son.
LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
After a brilliant literary career writing in Russian, Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) immigrated to the United States in 1940 and went on to an even more brilliant one in English. Between 1939 and 1974 he wrote the autobiography and eight novels collected… More about Vladimir Nabokov