Does anyone know where, if I may, get an online copy of the original translation of Vladimir Nabokov's Laughter in the Dark in English, entitled Camera Obscura, translated by Winifred Roy in 1936, then attributed to Vladimir Nabokoff-Sirin?

  • 1
    Nabokov died in 1977 but I don't know about Winifred Roy. Do you have any reasons to assume that copyright on that translation has not expired yet? If it hasn't expired, an online translation would need to be licensed from the publisher, I think.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 12:43
  • Lingualeo.com has got some educational pieces, the whole book is available on Ozone
    – V.V.
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 13:07
  • Amazon or AbeBooks might have a copy, otherwise check with rare book sellers.
    – DJohnson
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 17:03
  • I think this is the original and not a back-translation of Laughter in the Dark. (Not sure if the latter exists, incidentally; I'm not an expert on this novel) nabokov-lit.ru/nabokov/proza/kamera-obskura/…
    – SAH
    Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 15:47
  • @Sirin Incidentally, Laughter in the Dark and Камера обскура are equivalent nearly word-for-word in most parts (although Laughter in the Dark contains some notable improvements, particularly to the beginning and end)
    – SAH
    Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, I think it will be difficult to find it. John Colapinto writes in his article for "The New Yorker":

The obvious solution would be to buy or borrow a copy of Roy's translation and compare it to Nabokov's, but that’s almost impossible to do. “Camera Obscura” sold only a handful of copies upon its release, and the London warehouse containing the unsold stock was destroyed by German bombs during the Second World War.

You can read the full article there.

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