Skip to main content
15 votes
Accepted

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

This is an interesting question. I don't have a definitive answer, but here is some pertinent information. In the foreword to the book, the fictional (and pathologically self-important) Kinbote ...
DyingIsFun's user avatar
  • 1,104
10 votes
Accepted

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

Discussions of the topic contain sensitive content. No, his biographers don’t think there’s good evidence. The closest seems to be Andrew Field’s VN, the life and art of Vladimir Nabokov (1986): ...
b4rtr's user avatar
  • 1,841
9 votes
Accepted

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

Nabokov sometimes used translations into English as an opportunity to touch up his work, but sometimes he didn't. Below are a few case studies. Maybe the best example of Nabokov making changes is ...
DyingIsFun's user avatar
  • 1,104
9 votes
Accepted

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

After shooting Quilty in Chapter 35, Humbert in chapter 36 has been driving on the wrong side of the road (‘not exceeding 20 miles an hour’), then, when he sees two police cars blocking his progress ...
schweppz's user avatar
  • 1,209
7 votes

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

Maybe what some readers see as suggested foul play is the heavy, recurring interpretation that Humbert is responsible for all the events in the story, but only secondary to the will of whatever ...
Svtter's user avatar
  • 71
7 votes

Did Vladimir Nabokov know Thomas Mann's Works?

Apparently Nabokov did know of Mann's works. As documented in his Strong Opinions (which I found here and there via a Google search for "nabokov mann"), he held no high opinion of Mann: Ever ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
  • 4,210
7 votes

Looking for a specific passage by Nabokov

Apart from the quote by Silenus, I can remember two more germanophobic passages. The first one is about Fyodor's student (and it mentions humor): Он был самодоволен, рассудителен, туп и по-немецки ...
DrTyrsa's user avatar
  • 1,285
7 votes

Looking for a specific passage by Nabokov

Here is a passage from The Gift which depicts two Germans as brutish and indifferent to human suffering. Yasha's death had its most painful effect on his father.... Meanwhile nothing stopped with ...
DyingIsFun's user avatar
  • 1,104
6 votes
Accepted

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

Quote source In his translation of the short piece "Father's Butterflies" by his father, Vladimir Nabokov, Dmitri Nabokov has a neat little reference to "the terrible turtles who ...
auden's user avatar
  • 4,802
4 votes

Analyzing the alliteration of the first line of Lolita

In poetry, alliteration requires stressed syllables that begin with the same consonant sound. Nabokov's novel Lolita is written in prose, so we don't need to analyse the metre to determine which ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 46.2k
3 votes

Original Translation of Camera Obscura by Vladimir Nabokoff-Sirin

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 ...
pensnarik's user avatar
  • 131
3 votes

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

To respond to the first quote, H.H. does correct Lolita, 'Moreover,' I (H.H) added, 'the tragedy of such an accident is somewhat cheapened by the epithet (the adjective murdered in the quote you ...
Daniel H's user avatar
3 votes

Allusion in Nabokov's Pnin

It's from a poem of Pushkin's. An English translation is here. The relevant stanza: И где мне смерть пошлет судьбина? В бою ли, в странствии, в волнах? Или соседняя долина Мой примет охладелый прах? ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
  • 12.9k
2 votes
Accepted

What exactly drove Humbert’s preference for preteens?

Humbert is primarily a hebephile, sexually attracted to young pubescent females. His relationships with adult females are entirely to facilitate access to their children, and they are unfulfilling. As ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
  • 10.8k
2 votes

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

While it's hard to prove a negative, it is extremely unlikely that Nabokov based this passage on any kind of real-world or second-hand knowledge. As the essay The Long 1950s in the collection Vladimir ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
  • 22.7k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible