Spurred on by admiration for his novelist half-brother and irritation at the biography written about him by Mr Goodman ('his slapdash and very misleading book'), the narrator, V, sets out to record Sebastian Knight's life as he understands it. But buried amid the extensive quoting, digressions, seeming explanations and digs, Sebastian's erratic and troubled persona remains as elusive as ever. Nabokov's first novel written in English, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is a nuanced, enigmatic potrayal of the conflict between the real and the unreal, and the futile quest for human truth.
After a brilliant literary career writing in Russian, Vladimir Nabokov emigrated to the United States in 1940 and went on to an even more brilliant one in English. Between 1939 and 1974 he wrote the autobiography and eight novels now collected by The Library of America in an authoritative three-volume set, earning a place as one of the greatest writers of America, his beloved adopted home. The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, the first novel Nabokov wrote in English, is a tantalizing literary mystery in which a writer's half brother searches to unravel the enigma of the life of the famous author of Albinos in Black, The Back of the Moon, and The Doubtful Asphodel. Bend Sinister (1947), Nabokov's most explicitly political novel, is the haunting, dreamlike story of Adam Krug, a quiet philosophy professor caught up in the bureaucratic bungling of a totalitarian police state. Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited (1951; revised 1966), Nabokov's dazzling memoir of his childhood in imperial Russia and exile in Europe, is central to an understanding of his art. The texts of this volume incorporate Nabokov's penciled corrections in his own copies of his works and correct long-standing errors. They are the most authoritative versions available and have been prepared with the assistance of Dmitri Nabokov, the novelist's son, and Brian Boyd, Nabokov's award-winning biographer, who has also contributed notes and a detailed chronology of the author's life based on new research.
In Nabokov and Indeterminacy, Priscilla Meyer shows how Vladimir Nabokov’s early novel The Real Life of Sebastian Knight illuminates his later work. Meyer first focuses on Sebastian Knight, exploring how Nabokov associates his characters with systems of subtextual references to Russian, British, and American literary and philosophical works. She then turns to Lolita and Pale Fire, applying these insights to show that these later novels clearly differentiate the characters through subtextual references, and that Sebastian Knight’s construction models that of Pale Fire. Meyer argues that the dialogue Nabokov constructs among subtexts explores his central concern: the continued existence of the spirit beyond bodily death. She suggests that because Nabokov’s art was a quest for an unattainable knowledge of the otherworldly, knowledge which can never be conclusive, Nabokov’s novels are never closed in plot, theme, or resolution—they take as their hidden theme the unfinalizability that Bakhtin says characterizes all novels. The conclusions of Nabokov's novels demand a rereading, and each rereading yields a different novel. The reader can never get back to the same beginning, never attain a conclusion, and instead becomes an adept of Nabokov’s quest. Meyer emphasizes that, unlike much postmodern fiction, the contradictions created by Nabokov’s multiple paths do not imply that existence is constructed arbitrarily of pre-existing fragments, but rather that these fragments lead to an ever-deepening approach to the unknowable.
Detective and mystery stories by Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov
"The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is a perversely magical literary detective story -- subtle, intricate, leading to a tantalizing climax -- about the mysterious life of a famous writer. Many people knew things about Sebastian Knight as a distinguished novelist, but probably fewer than a dozen knew of the two love affairs that so profoundly influenced his career, the second one in such a disastrous way. After Knight's death, his half brother sets out to penetrate the enigma of his life, starting with a few scanty clues in the novelist's private papers. His search proves to be a story as intriguing as any of his subject's own novels, as baffling, and, in the end, as uniquely rewarding"--Goodreads.com.
This book argues that the apparent evasion of history in Vladimir Nabokov's fiction conceals a profound engagement with social, and therefore political, temporalities. While Nabokov scholarship has long assumed the same position as Nabokov himself -- that his works exist in a state of historical exceptionalism -- this study restores the content, context, and commentary to Nabokovian time by reading his American work alongside the violent upheavals of twentieth-century ideological conflicts in Europe and the United States. This approach explores how the author's characteristic temporal manipulations and distortions function as a defensive dialectic against history, an attempt to salvage fiction for autonomous aesthetics. Tracing Nabokov's understanding of the relationship between history and aesthetics from nineteenth-century Russia through European modernism to the postwar American academy, the book offers detailed contextualized readings of Nabokov's major writings, exploring the tensions, fissures, and failures in Nabokov's attempts to assert aesthetic control over historical time. In reading his response to the rise of totalitarianism, the Holocaust, and Cold War, Norman redresses the commonly-expressed admiration for Nabokov's heroic resistance to history by suggesting the ethical, aesthetic, and political costs of reading and writing in its denial. This book offers a rethinking of Nabokov's location in literary history, the ideological impulses which inform his fiction, and the importance of temporal aesthetics in negotiating the matrices of modernism.
Lucy Maddox's sensitive treatment of Nabokov's eight finished novels written in English—Pale Fire, Ada, Lolita, Bend Sinister, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, Transparent Things, Look at the Harlequins! and Pnin—approaches the novelist's work as significant fiction with its own integrity. Maddox provides the kind of discursive introduction that makes Nabokov's complex work more accessible, focusing on the relationship between the eccentric, artificial structures of the novels and their deeply traditional, humanistic themes. While the forms of the novels are idiosyncratic and often bizarre, says Maddox, the texts themselves are neither unfamiliar nor eccentric. Repeatedly the text is the frustration of desire or loss, which is for Nabokov the most agonizing and inescapable of human experiences. Maddox also traces through all eight novels the development of Nabokov's style, which she treats as a matter of both technique and vision.
This set comprises of 40 volumes covering nineteenth and twentieth century European and American authors. These volumes will be available as a complete set, mini boxed sets (by theme) or as individual volumes. This second set compliments the first 68 volume set of Critical Heritage published by Routledge in October 1995.
In this new edition, what was already an expansive work has been updated and further enlarged to include information not only on American and British novelists but also on writers in English from around the world.
Rimmon-Kenan (Hebrew U.-Jerusalem) asserts that responsible talk about representation and subjectivity is possible despite the poststructuralist destabilization of the concepts. She explains how by looking at 20th-century narratives that have taken the concepts as their themes, in particular Faulkner's Absalom, Nabokov's The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, Brooke-Rose's Thru, Beckett's Company, and Morrison's Beloved. Annotation copyright by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
A major reexamination of the novelist Vladimir Nabokov as "literary gamesman," this book systematically shows that behind his ironic manipulation of narrative and his puzzle-like treatment of detail there lies an aesthetic rooted in his intuition of a transcendent realm and in his consequent redefinition of "nature" and "artifice" as synonyms. Beginning with Nabokov's discursive writings, Vladimir Alexandrov finds his world view centered on the experience of epiphany--characterized by a sudden fusion of varied sensory data and memories, a feeling of timelessness, and an intuition of immortality--which grants the true artist intimations of an "otherworld." Readings of The Defense, Invitation to a Beheading, The Gift, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, Lolita, and Pale Fire reveal the epiphanic experience to be a touchstone for the characters' metaphysical insightfulness, moral makeup, and aesthetic sensibility, and to be a structural model for how the narratives themselves are fashioned and for the nature of the reader's involvement with the text. In his conclusion, Alexandrov outlines several of Nabokov's possible intellectual and artistic debts to the brilliant and variegated culture that flourished in Russia on the eve of the Revolution. Nabokov emerges as less alienated from Russian culture than most of his emigre readers believed, and as less "modernist" than many of his Western readers still imagine. "Alexandrov's work is distinctive in that it applies an `otherworld' hypothesis as a consistent context to Nabokov's novels. The approach is obviously a fruitful one. Alexandrov is innovative in rooting Nabokov's ethics and aesthetics in the otherwordly and contributes greatly to Nabokov studies by examining certain key terms such as `commonsense,' `nature,' and `artifice.' In general Alexandrov's study leads to a much clearer understanding of Nabokov's metaphysics."--D. Barton Johnson, University of California, Santa Barbara Originally published in 1991. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Publisher: Athens : Swallow Press/Ohio University Press
Critical interest in foreign novels, especially the Latin American and African novel, has burgeoned in the past two decades. The purpose of this reference bibliography is to provide easier access to the criticism produced from 1965 to 1975 on novels published in Africa, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Canada, Australia, and the middle East. A second volume will cover criticism between 1976 and 1985. Throughout this work, the term "foreign novel" includes novels and other longer works of fiction produced in all countries other than the United States and the United Kingdom. Coverage ranges in time of writing from Apuleius' Metamorphosis (first century, A.D.) and Murasaki's Tale of Genji (11th century) to Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude (1967) and Margaret Atwood's Surfacing (1972). The 277 journals--chosen primarily because of their wide circulation--and 584 books indexed for relevant material contribute to the 13,000 bibliographic citations on 1,500 authors. This is a reference tool which is surely essential for any library or world literature scholar.