Vladimir Nabokov Essays
4 samples in this category
Every now and again it’s probably healthy to crack open the glass, remove a certain world masterpiece from the display case, and in re-reading it recall that—unlike Ulysses and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, two other novels once deemed obscene by the tribunes of moral upkeep— Lolita is a disgusting book. Furthermore, the day will never come when it is not a disgusting book. By comparison, in fact, it can make Lawrence and Joyce look like a pair of old village bluenoses....
Dreams are boring. On the list of tedious conversation topics, they fall somewhere between the five-day forecast and golf. As for writing about them, even Henry James, who’s seldom accused of playing to the cheap seats, had a rule: “Tell a dream, lose a reader.” I can remember when I accepted that my own unconscious was not a fount of fascination—I’d dreamed, at length and in detail, of owning an iPhone that charged really, really fast. How unfair it is,...
Few things are more tempting to a writer than to write about writing. Having a couple of novels behind me, along with a dozen short stories, hundreds of pages of clickbait headlines (which I am not particularly proud of), as well as a number of academic texts, I know a thing or two about the craft of words. Vladimir Nabokov knows even more. Famous for the controversial novel Lolita, the Russian-American author was one of the most influential writers of...
Razor A short story written by Vladimir Nabakov tells the story of an exiled Russian that comes into contact with their former torturer. It was written in 1926. Paragraph one (Ivanov analysis) Ivanov, an exiled Russian, and former Berlin-based military officer took up a job as a barber; a fitting role, Nabokov says, as Ivanov’s sharp facial appearance gained him the nickname ‘Razor’ in his earlier life. An unnamed character, largely dressed in black, enters the barber’s on a hot...