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A novel constructed around the last great poem of a fictional American poet, John Shade, and an account of his death. The poem appears in full and the narrative develops through the lengthy, and increasingly eccentric, notes by his posthumous editor.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781857150674
ISBN-10: 1857150678
Format: Hardback
(210mm x 20mm x 135mm)
Pages: 318
Imprint: Everyman's Library
Publisher: Everyman
Publish Date: 19-Mar-1992
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » The title refers to the 999-line poem by John Shade which provides the starting point for the 'Zemblan' scholar Charles Kinbote's demented analysis. A wonderfully wicked satire on academic scholarship. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Another wholly different, baffling, brilliant book, full of word plays and tricky meanings. "Man's life as commentary to abstruse / Unfinished poem," writes the old poet, John Shade, in a long, personal, old-man's poem about life and death. Shade (happily married) and Charles Kinbote (homosexual) are teachers at Wordsmith College. What Kinbote does with Shade's poem, after Shade's death, supplies the kernel of the story - that, and what his deed does to him; and the whole development with its odd perversions and symbolisms is at times marvellously funny, often poignantly tragic. Perhaps, since the obscure symbolism forces the reader into reflecting Kinbote in a Kinbote-type, personal commentary, it would be unfair to give away more of the plot (if so it can be termed). The book is a box-within-boxes joke. Perhaps this is to be expected of Nabokov, as are also the dazzling flash of reversible meanings, puns, marvelously tangible writing, and cold, frightening resemblances to reality. Major publisher backing, for this is Nabokov's first novel written since Lolita. Count on intellectual snob appeal. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Vladimir Nabokov

One of the twentieth century's master prose stylists, Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977) was born in St Petersburg, but left Russia when the Bolsheviks seized power. He studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, where he launched a brilliant literary career. In 1940 he moved to the United States, and achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic, and translator. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. In 1961 he moved to Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1977. His first novel in English was The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, published in 1941. His other books include Ada or Ardor (1969), Laughter in the Dark (1933), Pale Fire (1962), the short story collection Details of a Sunset (1976) and Lolita (1955), his best-known novel.

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