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Vladimir Nabokov

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Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabokov

Embodies a vision of a bizarre and irrational world. In an unnamed dream country, the young man Cincinnatus C. is condemned to death by beheading for "gnostical turpitude", an imaginary crime that defies definition. Cincinnatus spends his last days in an absurd jail, where he is visited by chimerical jailers, an executioner who masquerades as a fellow prisoner, and by his...

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Humbert Humbert, a literary scholar, has harbored a long-time obsession with young girls, or "nymphets". He suggests that this was caused by the premature death of a childhood sweetheart, Annabel Leigh. After an unsuccessful marriage, Humbert moves to the small New England town of Ramsdale to write. He rents a room in the house of Charlotte Haze, a widow. While Charlotte...

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Starting with the table of contents, Pale Fire looks like the publication of a 999-line poem in four cantos by the fictional John Shade with a Foreword, extensive Commentary, and Index by his self-appointed editor, Charles Kinbote. Kinbote's Commentary takes the form of notes to various numbered lines of the poem. Here and in the rest of his critical apparatus, Kinbote...

Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov

Covers his life from 1903 until his emigration to America in 1940. The first twelve chapters describe Nabokov's remembrance of his youth in an aristocratic family living in pre-revolutionary Saint Petersburg and at their country estate Vyra, near Siverskaya. The three remaining chapters recall his years at Cambridge and as part of the Russian émigré community in Berlin...