Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years

Brian Boyd, Author Princeton University Press $85 (783p) ISBN 978-0-691-06797-1
Nabokov (1899-1977) fled France with his family in 1940, just before German tanks rolled into Paris. In the U.S. he settled into a peripatetic life of permanent impermanence, and much of the first half of this volume is crammed with minutiae on his teaching, writing and lecturing. But Boyd illuminates the contours of Nabokov's mind with sensuous precision, piercing the public persona of a very private man. The Russian emigre watched in bemusement as Lolita --which brought him fame, fortune and creative freedom--underwent a ``process of vulgarization'' in the public imagination. Boyd, senior lecturer at the University of Auckland, offers fresh readings of Pale Fire , Speak Memory , Pnin , Ada , Lolita and the rest of Nabokov's oeuvre. He conveys a keen sense of Nabokov as an artist who embraced life as an inexhaustible surprise and who suspected death to be a release from the self's prison. Ultimately a triumphant and definitive biography, this volume completes the story begun with The Russian Years. Photos. First serial to New York Times Book Review; author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Hardcover - 619 pages - 978-0-691-06794-0
Paperback - 800 pages - 978-0-691-02471-4
Paperback - 619 pages - 978-0-691-02470-7
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