The Gift (Nabokov novel)
The Gift is Vladimir Nabokov's final Russian novel, is considered to be his farewell to the world he was leaving behind. Nabokov wrote it between 1935 and 1937 while living in Berlin, it was published in serial form under his nom de plume, Vladimir Sirin; the Gift's fourth chapter, a pseudo-biography of the Russian writer Nikolay Chernyshevsky, was censored from publication in the Russian émigré journal that published the book's four other chapters. The story's apparent protagonist is Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev, a Russian writer living in Berlin after his family fled the Bolshevik Revolution. Fyodor's literary ambitions and his development as a writer shape the book. In the fifth and final chapter, Fyodor states his ambition to write a book that in description is similar to The Gift. In an interview to BBC2, Nabokov cited Fyodor as an example that not all the lives of his characters are grotesque or tragic. Nabokov's son, translated the book's first chapter into English. Nabokov revised the translations of all five chapters in 1961.
Fyodor Konstantinovitch Cherdyntsev is a Russian émigré living in Berlin in the 1920s, the chapter starts with him moving to a boarding-house on Seven Tannenberg Street. He has published a book of poems, receives a call from Alexander Yakovlevich Chernyshevski congratulating him on the poems and inviting him to come over to a party to read a favorable critique in a newspaper; the poems reach back to Fyodor's childhood, which he spent with his sister Tanya in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg and the Leshino manor, the country estate of the Godunov-Cherdyntsevs. Fyodor arrives at the party only to learn; the Chernyshevskis had a son, who looked like Fyodor and loved poetry. Yasha took his own life. Yasha's mother wants Fyodor to use Yasha's tragic end in his writings; as a result of Yasha's death, his father suffers episodes of insanity. When Fyodor returns to his “new hole” he realises he has brought the wrong keys with him, but after he waits a while a visitor comes out and Fyodor gets back in.
Fyodor dawdles away the summer. In the fall he attends a literary meeting of Russian émigrés and there he meets Koncheyev, whom he considers a rival. A reading of a new play bores the audience; when Fyodor is about to leave he and Koncheyev discuss Russian literature at length and with great animation, but their discussion turns out to have been fictitious. Fyodor is dreaming about his native Russia as he rides in a tramcar to visit his language student, but he can no longer stand it and he returns to his lodgings; when his mother, Elizaveta Pavlovna, comes from Paris to visit him, the shadow of his lost father hangs over their encounter, for his mother believes that her husband is still alive. Before her departure they attend a local Russian literary event, Fyodor is the last poet there to recite one of his poems. Although unnoticed he is inspired by his mother's visit and by his study of Pushkin, he seeks her support for his new project, a book about his father, Konstantin Kirillovich, he collects material, stumbles upon Sushoshchokov's account of his grandfather, Kirill Ilyich, a gambler who made and lost a fortune in America before returning to Russia, he starts to focus on his father's activities as an explorer and scientific writer whose journeys between 1885 and 1918 led him to Siberia and Central Asia.
Fyodor had only come along with his father on local trips, but he is imbued with the love of butterflies and he imagines accompanying his father in his journeys to the East. In 1916 his father remains missing. Fyodor's difficulty with his project is complicated by his need to find a new lodging. With the help of Mrs. Chernyshevski he finds a place with the Shchyogolevs, he moves in with them because he sees a short, pale-blue dress in an adjacent room and assumes it belongs to their daughter. This chapter starts by describing a day in the life of the protagonist. In the morning Fyodor hears the Shchyogolevs get up and he begins the day by thinking about poetry, he reflects on his development as a poet. At mid-day he joins the family for lunch. Shchyogolev is talking about politics, his wife, Marianna Nikolavna, is cooking, Marianna's daughter, Zina Mertz, is behaving in a distinctly hostile manner. In the afternoon Fyodor gives his tutorial lessons and visits a bookstore where he comes across Koncheyev's book of poems, "Communication," and some reviews that failed to understand it.
He reads an article about Chernyshevski and Chess in the Soviet chess magazine, "8x8," and afterwards visits his editor, Vasiliev. After returning home and having supper in his room, Fyodor goes out to meet Zina in secret. While waiting for her he composes a poem embedded in the narrative. Zina Mertz has appeared in the narrative - she bought one of the few copies of Fyodor's poems, she is the daughter of Marianna Nikolavna and Shchyogolev's stepdaughter, occupying the room next to Fyodor's; the story of their encounters is recalled and we learn that Zina knew of Fyodor when he lived at his previous lodgings. Their meetings are hidden from her parents. Shchyogolev implies that he married her mother to gain access to Zina, this may be the reason why she hates him. Zina works for a law f
The Real Life of Sebastian Knight
The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is the first English language novel by Vladimir Nabokov, written from late 1938 to early 1939 in Paris and first published in 1941. A work centred on language and its inability to convey any satisfactory definition, it has been identified as a forerunner of the postmodernist novel. Nabokov's first major work in English was written hastily in Paris while the author sat in the bathroom, his valise set across a bidet as a writing desk, it had been preceded by nine earlier novels in Russian, written under the pen name V. Sirin, shares with them a preoccupation with the problems of living in exile and of adaptation. This, Nabokov’s first novel under his own name, was published by New Directions Publishers in 1941 and sold slowly. After the success of Lolita it was republished in this time to wide critical acclaim; the narrator, V. is absorbed in the composition of his first literary work, a biography of his half-brother, the Russian-born English novelist, Sebastian Knight.
In the course of his quest he tracks down Sebastian's contemporaries at Cambridge and interviews other friends and acquaintances. In the course of his work V. surveys Sebastian's books and attempts to refute the views of the "misleading" The Tragedy of Sebastian Knight, a biography by Knight's former secretary Mr. Goodman, who maintains that Knight was too aloof and cut off from real life. V. concludes that, after a long-running romantic relationship with Clare Bishop, Sebastian's final years were embittered by a love affair with another woman — a Russian whom he met at a hotel in Blauberg, where Sebastian spent time recuperating from a heart ailments in June 1929. V. leaves for Blauberg, with the help of a private detective, he acquires a list of the names of four women who were staying at the hotel at the same time as Sebastian and tracks down each to interview them. After dismissing the possibility of Helene Grinstein in Berlin, his search leads him to Paris and the list narrows to two candidates: Mme de Rechnoy and Mme von Graun.
V. first suspects Mme de Rechnoy of being the mystery woman, based on a compelling description from her ex-husband, Pahl Palich Rechnoy. Mme de Rechnoy can not be located, leaving V. unsatisfied. However, after meeting Mme von Graun's friend, Mme Nina Lecerf, hearing stories of von Graun's unflattering affair with a Russian, V. becomes convinced that Helene von Graun is the woman in question. Nina invites V. to visit her in the country. Finding that Helene has not yet arrived, V. mentions to Nina a letter introducing himself to Mme von Graun, which angers her. By chance, V. learns that it is Nina Lecerf herself, not Helene, Sebastian's final romance. Nina was, in fact, the Mme de Rechnoy whom V. had suspected but never met. The final chapters of the narration deal with The Doubtful Asphodel, Sebastian's final novel, centered on a dying man and his slow decay. V.'s description of the novel reveals similarities and coincidence not only with Sebastian's life, but with V.'s own investigative adventures.
V. tries to account for Sebastian's final years, including a last letter from Sebastian asking V. to visit him at a hospital outside Paris. As V. makes the trip, his ties to his own life become visible for their tenuousness: his employer hampers his ability to travel, he struggles to remember necessary details such as the hospital name, he lacks sufficient money to travel efficiently. V. arrives at the hospital and listens to his sleeping brother's breathing from a separate room, only to discover that the sleeping man is not his brother, but another man. Sebastian Knight had died the night before; the novel concludes with a philosophical reconciliation of Sebastian's life and a final implication that V. himself is Sebastian Knight, or at least his incarnation. The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is a biographical metafiction, in some ways an anticipation of postmodernism. Although there are elements of the detective story in its description of a quest to ascertain facts about a private and evasive novelist, its subject cannot be grasped through the medium of language though Sebastian Knight is only knowable through his own medium.
Instead, the book spins “a texture of words around an empty point, an absence”, according to Giorgio Manganelli. By the end of the second chapter it has become clear, that the projected book will not be about Knight’s life but his brother V’s attempt to write it. What complicates the process of getting to know the real Sebastian Knight is the interlayering of a subjective account of the quest with a variety of texts. There is firstly the hastily written and poorly researched biography by Mr Goodman, Knight’s ignominiously dismissed secretary written to fit a simplistic thesis. There is Knight’s own “memoir”, supported by passages from his novels, both as stylistic demonstrations and illustrative of V’s subjective reading of their biographical significance. There are V’s own novelistic interpolations, making clear the difference between Knight’s linguistic mastery and the literary devices used by hack authors. “Who is speaking of Sebastian Knight?” Asks a sudden voice in the Cambridge mist at the end of chapter 5, only to be disavowed immediately.
In a similar way, V prepares a speech to unmask the deception of Madame Lecerf at the end of chapter 17 but refrains. “She will be sent a copy of this book and will understand.” Such tricks continue the perception in Nabokov’s earlier novel Despair that “the first person is as fictitious as all the rest”. It is open to the reader to play the detective himself, noting in what ways the
The Original of Laura
The Original of Laura is an incomplete novel by Vladimir Nabokov, which he was writing at the time of his death in 1977. It was published, after 30 years of private debate, on November 17, 2009. Nabokov had requested that the work be destroyed upon his death, but his family hesitated to carry out his wish to destroy an incomplete but important literary work. Over the next years its contents were viewed only by Nabokov's son, a few scholars. In April 2008, Nabokov's son Dmitri Nabokov announced plans to publish the work, in what BBC2 late night news programme Newsnight said was "likely to be the literary event of 2009." Upon publication, critical response was negative, with commenters lambasting the quality of the writing and admonishing Nabokov's executor for publishing the work in this state. Based on discussions with unidentified scholars, The Times summarizes the plot as follows: Philip Wild, an enormously corpulent scholar, is married to a slender and wildly promiscuous woman called Flora.
Flora appealed to Wild because of another woman that he’d been in love with, Aurora Lee. Death and what lies beyond it, a theme which fascinated Nabokov from a young age, are central; the book opens at a party and there follow four continuous scenes, after which the novel becomes more fragmented. It is not clear how old Wild is, but he is preoccupied with his own death and sets about obliterating himself from the toes upwards through meditation, a sort of deliberate self-inflicted self-erasure. According to his diaries, Nabokov first noted his work on the project on December 1, 1974, under the title Dying Is Fun. By the summer of 1976, he noted that the story was completed in his mind, but by his health was failing rapidly; when Nabokov died on July 2, 1977, he was still working on the novel, since retitled The Opposite of Laura and The Original of Laura. The incomplete manuscript consists of Nabokov's own handwriting across 138 index cards, the equivalent of about 30 manuscript pages; the use of index cards was normal for Nabokov, the basis of many of his works, such as Lolita and Pale Fire.
Nabokov was a perfectionist and made it clear that, upon his death, any unfinished work was to be destroyed. Nabokov's wife, Véra, their son, became his literary executors, but ignored his will, did not destroy the manuscript. Dmitri noted that Véra Nabokov "failed to carry out this task, her procrastination due,'to age and immeasurable love.'" They placed it in a Swiss bank vault. In 1991 Véra died. Dmitri wavered on. On the one hand, he felt bound to uphold his "filial duty" and grant his father's request, but he said the novel "would have been a brilliant and totally radical book, in the literary sense different from the rest of his oeuvre." Dmitri noted "his father... or his'father’s shade,' would not'have opposed the release of ‘Laura’ once ‘Laura’ had survived the hum of time this long.'"Scholars and enthusiasts disagreed over whether the manuscript should be made public. The younger Nabokov remarked cryptically that one other person possessed a key to the manuscript, but did not say who that person was.
Like Nabokov, many observers were on the fence about the disposition of the manuscript. The author Edmund White compared the author's last request to Virgil's request to destroy the Aeneid or Franz Kafka's request to destroy his papers. Nabokov weighed in on Nikolai Gogol's decision to burn the sequels to Dead Souls; the journalist Ron Rosenbaum, who corresponded with Dmitri Nabokov, said that the son had been inclined toward destroying the manuscript, swayed by criticism of his father, such as allegations of plagiarism that arose from the discovery of a 1916 German short story, "Lolita" with some similarities to Nabokov's work, or critics who had interpreted Nabokov's work as suggesting that Nabokov was sexually abused. In April 2008 Dmitri Nabokov told many publications, including Nabokov Online Journal and Der Spiegel, that he intended to publish the manuscript after all. In the Nabokov Online Journal interview with Suellen Stringer-Hye, Nabokov stated that he had never considered burning the manuscript.
Once Dmitri decided to publish the manuscript, "several short excerpts were published in advance - in the Sunday Times Magazine and Playboy, to which Nabokov was a contributor."BBC Newsnight predicted that the novel's publication was "likely to be the literary event of 2009." In the late 1990s Dmitri Nabokov read a portion of the book to a group of about 20 scholars at a centenary celebration of his father at Cornell University. The scholars Brian Boyd and Lara Delage-Toriel claim to have read the manuscript. In 1999 two passages from The Original of Laura were published in The Nabokovian, a scholarly publication devoted to Nabokov. Zoran Kuzmanovich, a scholar of Nabokov, said of passages he heard at Cornell University, "It sounds as though the story is about aging but holding onto the original love of one's life."The German weekly Die Zeit in its 14 August 2008 issue reproduced some of Nabokov's original index cards, obtained by journalist Malte Herwig. In the accompanying article, Herwig concluded that "Laura", although fragmentary, was "vintage Nabokov".
According to a 2006 account of the book by Lara Delage-Toriel, the narrator and protagonist of Nabokov's book receives a novel titled My Laura from a painter. The narrator realizes that the novel is in fact about his own wife Flora, whom t
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Laughter in the Dark (novel)
Laughter in the Dark is a novel written by Vladimir Nabokov and serialised in Sovremennye Zapiski in 1932. The first English translation, Camera Obscura, was made by Winifred Roy and published in London in 1936 by Johnathan Long, the paperback imprint of Hutchinson Publishing, with the author credited as Vladimir Nabokoff-Sirin. Nabokov was so displeased by the translation's quality that he undertook his own, published in 1938 under the now common name, Laughter in the Dark, it is sometimes mistakenly assumed that he was not fond of the book, yet in fact it was based on personal breakthroughs in his life. The book deals with the affection of a middle-aged man for a young woman, resulting in a mutually parasitic relationship. In 1955, Nabokov used this theme again with Lolita to a much differently developed effect; the characters were given different names in the English translation. In the following list the names of the main characters of the English translation are given first with the original names in parentheses.
Albert Albinus - a middle-aged art-critic Margot Peters - a 17-year-old aspiring actress, common worker, seductress Axel Rex - A painter from New York and Margot's first lover Margot's first broken relationship when he abandoned herSome minor characters include: Elisabeth Albinus - Albert Albinus's wife Paul Hochenwart - Elisabeth's brother Otto Peters - Margot's brother Frieda - The Albinus' housekeeper Irma Albinus - Elisabeth and Albert's daughter Kaspar - A friend of Otto's Udo Conrad - An author and acquaintance of Albert's Albinus is a respected, reasonably happy married art critic who lives in Berlin. He lusts after the 17-year-old Margot whom he meets at a cinema, where she works, woos her over the course of many encounters with money, his prolonged affair with Margot is revealed to Albinus's wife Elisabeth when Margot deliberately sends a letter to the Albinuses' residence and Albert is unable to intercept it before it is discovered. Elisabeth leaves with the assistance of her brother and takes their daughter, with her.
Rather than disown the young troublemaker, Albinus is more attracted to Margot. She manipulates him into allowing her to move in to his flat where he resided with his wife, she sets to working on him getting a divorce so that she might marry him and acquire access to his significant wealth. Margot uses Albinus to fulfil her ambition in life to become a rich film star; when Albinus' daughter, takes ill and succumbs to pneumonia, Margot insistently drives a wedge between his old life and his new, in order to totalize her capture of him. Inadvertantly, Albinus introduces Margot to Axel Rex at one of his many dinner parties, but he does not know that the two have been lovers. Margot and Rex resume their relationship, start plotting to get Albinus out of the way and rob him of his money. Albinus gets Margot her first role as an actress, using his wealth as largesse to make up for her lack of talent. At the premiere viewing of the movie, Margot realises how inept she was and is petulant about her public exposure as a mediocre actress.
Attempting to appease her wounded ego, Albinus convinces her to take a holiday to the south in the new car he has bought for her. Rex refuses to be left behind, by this point has wangled his way into Albinus' confidence as a fellow artist: he presents himself as the ideal chauffeur for their trip, given that Albinus can drive. Rex and Margot's trysts have become brazen, the holiday seems an opportunity to further deepen their affair on Albinus' payroll; the holiday didn't quite go as Margot and Rex planned, since rendezvouses were next to impossible without arousing suspicion. On arriving in a small town and finding most lodgings unavailable, they get their chance in the only remaining hotel room the three could find, which shared a bathroom and made clandestine access possible. After a chance encounter with an old friend in the town, Albinus realises that Margot and Rex are engaged in an affair. Enraged, Albinus returns to the hotel and threatens Margot, who insists that there is nothing between her and the homosexual Rex.
Still distraught, Albinus demands they leave at once, they abandon Rex at the hotel. On their journey out of town, Albinus crashes the car and is blinded, leaving him in need of care and oblivious to the world around him. Rex and Margot take advantage of his handicap. After sending a letter falsely stating that Rex has gone to America, they rent a chalet in Switzerland where Rex poses as Albinus's doctor, although Albinus is unaware of Rex's presence. Rex tortures Albinus during his recovery. Albinus becomes suspicious as his ears become more attuned and he perceives someone's presence, although Margot continuously denies his concerns. Paul, Albinus's brother-in-law, suspects forgery when he encounters multiple high value cheques on Albinus' account at their shared bank, with the signature scrawled and the amounts in a different handwriting. Elisabeth, Albinus' estranged wife, asks her brother to drive to the Swiss residence. There Paul discovers Rex toying with Albinus in his blinded state. Paul hurriedly bundles Albinus into a vehicle before Margot can return and convince the wretched Albinus otherwise, escorts Albinus back to the Elisabeth's home, where he is given proper care.
After a short time, Albinus receives a call f
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was a Russian-born American novelist, poet and entomologist. His first nine novels were in Russian, but he achieved international prominence after he began writing English prose. Nabokov's Lolita was ranked fourth in the list of the Modern Library 100 Best Novels, he was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction seven times. Nabokov was an expert composer of chess problems. Nabokov was born on 22 April 1899, in Saint Petersburg, to a wealthy and prominent family of the Russian nobility that traced its roots to the 14th-century Tatar prince Nabok Murza, who entered into the service of the Tsars, from whom the family name is derived, his father was the liberal lawyer and journalist Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov and his mother was the heiress Yelena Ivanovna née Rukavishnikova, the granddaughter of a millionaire gold-mine owner. His father was a leader of the pre-Revolutionary liberal Constitutional Democratic Party and wrote numerous books and articles about criminal law and politics.
His cousins included the composer Nicolas Nabokov. His paternal grandfather, Dmitry Nabokov, was Russia's Justice Minister during the reign of Alexander II, his paternal grandmother was the Baltic German Baroness Maria von Korff. Through his father's German ancestry, he was related to the composer Carl Heinrich Graun. Vladimir was the family's eldest and favorite child, with four younger siblings: Sergey, Olga and Kirill. Sergey was killed in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945 after publicly denouncing Hitler's regime. Ayn Rand recalled Olga as a supporter of constitutional monarchy who first awakened Rand's interest in politics. Elena, who in years became Vladimir's favorite sibling, published her correspondence with him in 1985 and was an important source for biographers of Nabokov. Nabokov spent his childhood and youth in Saint Petersburg and at the country estate Vyra near Siverskaya, south of the city, his childhood, which he called "perfect" and "cosmopolitan", was remarkable in several ways.
The family spoke Russian and French in their household, Nabokov was trilingual from an early age. He related that the first English book his mother read to him was Misunderstood by Florence Montgomery. In fact, much to his patriotic father's disappointment, Nabokov could read and write in English before he could in Russian. In Speak, Memory Nabokov recalls numerous details of his privileged childhood, his ability to recall in vivid detail memories of his past was a boon to him during his permanent exile, providing a theme that echoes from his first book Mary to works such as Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle. While the family was nominally Orthodox, there was little religious fervor, Vladimir was not forced to attend church after he lost interest. In 1916, Nabokov inherited the estate Rozhdestveno, next to Vyra, from his uncle Vasily Ivanovich Rukavishnikov, but lost it in the October Revolution one year later. Nabokov's adolescence was the period in which his first serious literary endeavors were made.
In 1916, Nabokov published Stikhi, a collection of 68 Russian poems. At the time he was attending Tenishev school in Saint Petersburg, where his literature teacher Vladimir Vasilievich Gippius had been critical of his literary accomplishments; some time after the publication of Stikhi, Zinaida Gippius, renowned poet and first cousin of Vladimir Gippius, told Nabokov's father at a social event, "Please tell your son that he will never be a writer." After the 1917 February Revolution, Nabokov's father became a secretary of the Russian Provisional Government in Saint Petersburg. After the October Revolution, the family was forced to flee the city for Crimea, not expecting to be away for long, they lived at a friend's estate and in September 1918 moved to Livadiya, at the time part of the Ukrainian Republic. After the withdrawal of the German Army in November 1918 and the defeat of the White Army, the Nabokovs sought exile in western Europe, they settled in England and Vladimir enrolled in Trinity College of the University of Cambridge, first studying zoology Slavic and Romance languages.
His examination results on the first part of the Tripos, taken at the end of second year, were a starred first. He sat the second part of the exam in his fourth year, just after his father's death. Nabokov feared he might fail the exam, his final examination result was second-class, his BA conferred in 1922. Nabokov drew on his Cambridge experiences to write several works, including the novels Glory and The Real Life of Sebastian Knight. In 1920, Nabokov's family moved to Berlin, where his father set up the émigré newspaper Rul'. Nabokov followed them to Berlin two years after completing his studies at Cambridge. In March 1922, Nabokov's father was fatally shot in Berlin by the Russian monarchist Pyotr Shabelsky-Bork as he was trying to shield the real target, Pavel Milyukov, a leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party-in-exile; this mistaken, violent death echoed again and again in Nabokov's fi
Mary (Nabokov novel)
Mary, is the debut novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first published under pen name V. Sirin in 1926 by Russian-language publisher "Slovo". Mary is the story of Lev Glebovich Ganin, a Russian émigré and former White Guard Officer displaced by the Russian Revolution. Ganin is now living in a boarding house in Berlin, along with a young Russian girl, Klara, an old Russian poet, his landlady, Lydia Nikolaevna Dorn and his neighbour, Aleksey Ivanovich Alfyorov, whom he meets in a dark, broken-down elevator at the onset of the novel. Through a series of conversations with Alfyorov and a photograph, Ganin discovers that his long-lost first love, Mary, is now the wife of his rather unappealing neighbour, that she will be joining him soon; as Ganin realizes this, he ends his relationship with his current girlfriend and begins to be consumed by his memories of his time in Russia with Mary, which Ganin notes "were the happiest days of his life". Enthralled by his vision of Mary and unable to let Alfyorov have her, Ganin contrives schemes in order to reunite with Mary, who he believes still loves him.
Ganin claims that he will leave Berlin the night before Mary is to arrive and his fellow residents throw a party for him the previous night. Ganin plies Alfyorov with alcohol intoxicating him. Just before Alfyorov falls into his drunken sleep, he asks Ganin to set his alarm clock for half past seven, as Alfyorov intends to pick up Mary at the train station the next morning; the infatuated Ganin instead sets the clock for eleven and plans to meet Mary at the train station himself. However, as Ganin arrives at the train station, he realizes that "the world of memories in which Ganin had dwelt became what it was in reality the distant past... Other than that image no Mary existed, nor could exist". Instead of meeting Mary, Ganin decides to board a train to France and "move on". Amidst the central plot is a secondary, minor plot of an old Russian poet, Anton Sergeyevich Podtyagin, who appears to be an older version of Ganin. Podtyagin desires to leave Berlin and arrive in Paris, but fails to do so on several occasions due to a series of unfortunate events.
Lev Glebovich Ganin – The protagonist of the novel. Aleksey Ivanovich Alfyorov – The husband of Mary and the neighbour of Ganin. Lydia Nikolaevna Dorn – The landlady of Ganin. An old Russian woman who inherited the pension after her German husband died. Lyudmila Borisovna Rubanski – Ganin's girlfriend in the opening chapters of the novel. Klara – A young Russian girl living in the same building as Ganin, she harbors an intense attraction to him. Anton Sergeyevich Podtyagin – An old Russian poet who desires to leave Berlin for Paris, but fails to do so. Reappears in The Gift. Mary Alfyorov – The eponymous character and Ganin's first love. Mary never appears in the present of the novel, but only in Ganin's memories. Mary was first published in the mid-1920s during Nabokov's stay in Berlin. Nabokov's first novel contains, key autobiographical elements. According to Brian Boyd, the character Mary Alfyorov is based on Nabokov's first love, Valentina Evgenievna Shulgin, a fifteen-year-old Russian girl he met in 1915 at a pavilion in the estate of Vyra, at the age of sixteen.
Nabokov's time with Lyussya is recorded in the final chapter of his autobiography, Memory where she is given the pseudonym "Tamara". Nabokov confirms this connection himself in the foreword to the English edition, where he writes that "Mary is a twin sister of Tamara". Like Ganin, Nabokov was separated from Tamara by the Russian Revolution and forced into Berlin as an émigré; the novel was well-received in the 1920s for its inventive structure and vivid descriptions of pre-Revolutionary Russia. Among contemporary critics however, it is viewed as an early juvenile work of Nabokov, written at a time before he came into his own as an author. Nabokov himself seemed to share the same opinion, at least on a technical level, as he notes its "flaws the artifacts of innocence and inexperience". Furthermore, Nabokov's decision to translate and publish Mary in English last out of all his Russian novels is an indication of his opinion on its quality, yet the author seemed to have a softer side for his first novel, "confessing to the sentimental stab of attachment" to it.
In Mary, Nabokov explores many of the metaphysical ideas of French philosopher Henri Bergson and investigates the nature of the relationships between time and consciousness, as noticed by scholars like Boyd and Eric Laursen. Furthermore, the issue of solipsism, according to Alfred Appel, is "a central concern" in Nabokov's oeuvre, is prominently featured in Mary, as Ganin struggles with the self-created image of his first love; as Leona Toker remarks, "the romance which started solipsistically in the imagination, no less solipsistically". A film adaptation titled Maschenka after the original Russian title, was released in 1987; the film, directed by John Goldschmidt with screenplay by John Mortimer, starred Cary Elwes as Ganin and Irina Brook as Maschenka. John Goldschmidt won the Cine De Luca Award for directing'Maschenka" at the Monte Carlo TV Festival. 1970, USA, McGraw-Hill 1989, USA, Vintage International ISBN 0-679-72620-9, Pub Date November 1989 The novel first appeared in English in 1970 in a translation by Michael Glenny "in collaboration with the author."