Stalking Nabokov

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At the age of twenty-one, Brian Boyd wrote an essay on Vladimir Nabokov that the author called “brilliant.” In 1991, after gaining exclusive access to the writer’s archives, he wrote a two-part, award-winning biography, Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years and Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years, that has become standard reading. This collection features essays written by Boyd after completing Nabokov’s biography, incorporating material he gleaned from his research as well as new discoveries and formulations. This volume forms the perfect companion for readers of Nabokov, approaching the author from a variety of angles and perspectives. Boyd confronts Nabokov’s life, career, and legacy; his art, science, and thought; his subtle humor and puzzle-like storytelling; his complex psychological portraits; and his inheritance from, reworking of, or affinities with Shakespeare, Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Machado de Assis. Boyd offers new ways of reading Nabokov’s best English-language work: Lolita, Pale Fire, Ada, and the unparalleled autobiography, Speak, Memory, and he discloses otherwise unknown information about the author’s world. Sharing his personal reflections, Boyd recounts the adventures, hardships, and revelations of researching Nabokov’s biography and his unusual finds in the archives, including materials still awaiting publication. The first to focus on Nabokov’s metaphysics, Boyd in fact downplays their importance, instead emphasizing the author’s humor, reinvention of narrative possibility, and psychological renderings of various characters to unlock the greater mysteries. Reading Nabokov as novelist, memoirist, poet, translator, scientist, and individual, Boyd further immortalizes his far-reaching, versatile talents.

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