Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was born in 1899 in St Pertersburg Russia to a prominent wealthy family, his father being a lawyer, statesman and journalist.
As a child he was taught Russian, English and French and could read and write in English before he could in Russian. After the Bolshevik Revolution the family fled to Europe and after a brief stay in England, settled in Berlin.
He published 9 novels in Russian between 1926 and 1938 but it wasn’t until he arrived in America (fleeing the Germany army in 1941) and became a Lecturer that he was able to fund his writing career. The huge financial success of Lolita in 1955 (that has now sold over 50 million copies world wide) meant he was then able to devote his time to writing on a permanent basis.
Noted for his clever use of words and complex plots, he enjoyed using “Alliteration” in his work and suffered from synesthesia. He died in 1977 in Switzerland after suffering from severe bronchial congestion. At the time of his death he was working on a novel, which he requested to be burnt on his death. His son went against his father wishes and published it.
My favourite Nobokov quotes:
“I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.”
“Caress the detail, the divine detail.”
“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.”
“Style and structure are the essence of a book; great ideas are hogwash.”
“Some people, and I am one of them, hate happy ends, we feel cheated.”
This is a really interesting documentary about Nabokov….it’s an hour long, but includes interviews with him….worth a watch 🙂
I don’t think I’ve ever used Alliteration in my writing, but it’s an interesting concept that I might explore one day. How about you? Do you use Alliteration?
- Nabokov House, St. Petersburg (moderndayruth.net)