Questions tagged [vladimir-nabokov]

Questions about the works of Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) or his life as a writer. His works that were originally in Russian should be tagged with [russian-literature].

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Did Humbert kill a female pedestrian towards the end of Lolita?

Towards the end of the novel Lolita when Humbert has just killed Quilty and starts driving like a maniac, he says this: I turned off the road, and after two or three big bounces, rode up a grassy ...
Paajnah -'s user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
688 views

In Lolita, is there any evidence that Humbert committed a second murder?

NOTE: this question contains major spoilers for Lolita. When we first meet Humbert he's awaiting trial for murder and in the fullness of time, it becomes explicit exactly who it is that he has ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
4k views

What evidence is there that Vladimir Nabokov was abused as a child?

If you read around the works of Nabokov, it's quite common to find people stating as a fact that he was abused as a child by his uncle and that the family were aware and covered it up. I found one ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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10 votes
0 answers
180 views

Is there any significance to the names of the painters listed in Lolita?

In part 2 chapter 12 of Lolita, Humbert buys her a book about "modern American painting" and attempts to discuss some of the artists with her. The conversation is not a success but I found ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
192 views

Allusion in Nabokov's Pnin

In chapter 3, section 6 of Nabokov's Pnin, the main character is carrying a reference work "mainly devoted to Tolstoyana" across the Waindell campus when he drops it by accident: Pnin, on ...
Kevin Troy's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
339 views

What exactly drove Humbert’s preference for preteens?

In the first four chapters, our narrator Humbert, after explaining his backstory, relates an experience in which he met, in his youth, a girl he was friends with. He even had a kind of relationship, ...
Sudeep Stauble's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
2k views

Analyzing the alliteration of the first line of Lolita

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Please help me analyze the alliteration from the line above. Which 'L' words attribute to the alliteration? Lo, Li from Lolita and light, ...
m m's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
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Where is this passage by Nabokov on the power of language located?

I’m losing my mind, because I’ve lost a quotation that I had a few weeks ago and now can’t relocate it for the life of me. It was from either Brian Boyd’s two-volume biography of Nabokov or Boyd's ...
Lijishe's user avatar
  • 321
14 votes
1 answer
343 views

Were the early sexual experiences of Lolita and her classmates inspired by the real experience of children in New England in 1947?

In the last pages of part 1 of Nabokov's Lolita Humbert relates Dolores's description of her own previous sexual experiences, in the course of which she mentions ways in which some of her coevals at ...
user9909's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
96 views

How does the author convey the tone of the panic that can be aroused by contemplating the "prenatal abyss"?

In the text of Vladimir Nabokov: The Beginning of Consciousness How does the author convey the tone of the panic that can be aroused by contemplating the "prenatal abyss"? The cradle rocks above ...
Educ's user avatar
  • 121
3 votes
0 answers
69 views

History of Pale Fire's Criticism

How did Pale Fire's interpretation and analysis develop through time? Had there been continuous critical attention towards it and what did Nabokov himself say about the work? It is quite a ...
edlothia's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
140 views

Please explain the reference to Nabokov's 'the terrible turtles who direct learned journals'?

McWhorter, J. PhD Linguistics (Stanford). The Power of Babel (2003). p. 24 Middle.   Russian is such a case, and it creates little ripples of semantic ambiguity in translations. In his ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
223 views

Original Translation of Camera Obscura by Vladimir Nabokoff-Sirin

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, ...
Sirin's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
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Did Vladimir Nabokov know Thomas Mann's Works?

Thomas Mann (born in 1875) emigrated from Germany in 1933; in that same year, the first part of his "Joseph and His Brothers" was published in Germany. He was a well known author by then. On the ...
fml2's user avatar
  • 201
4 votes
4 answers
302 views

Looking for a specific passage by Nabokov

I remember reading this specific (germanophobic, sorry about that) bit in one of Nabokov's works but I just can't find it now. It described several bürgers drinking beer and casually laughing at ...
imakhlin's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
883 views

How much "self-editing" did Nabokov do when his Russian novels were translated into English?

Several of Nabokov's early, Russian-language novels were translated into English in the 1960s, either by Nabokov himself (Despair), or by translators under his guidance (including his son Dmitri). To ...
Kevin Troy's user avatar
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27 votes
1 answer
2k views

Was Nabokov's Pale Fire intended to be read non-linearly, i.e. jumping to each line reference?

Did Vladimir Nabokov ever indicate on record whether he intended Pale Fire to be read non-linearly, i.e. jumping to each line reference? A friend and I read the book together last summer. He read the ...
Andrew Cheong's user avatar