Nabokov’s Response to Tyranny, 1938
Offering fresh insights into all of Nabokov’s works of 1938, this book focuses on a major new reading of The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, revealing that Nabokov’s seemingly non-political novel contains a hidden subtext of espionage and totalitarian tyranny. Drawing on the popular British authors he admired as a boy, Nabokov weaves a covert narrative reminiscent of a Sherlock Holmes story, in which Sebastian Knight, a latter-day Scarlet Pimpernel, uncovers a world of Wellsian scientific misadventure that foreshadows the Holocaust. The Real Life of Sebastian Knight emerges as an antitotalitarian masterpiece, in which the «absolute solution» is both a dire prediction of the future and Nabokov’s artistic answer to the problem of the time.
Works by Nabokov Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle. London: Weidenfeld, 1969. “The Assistant Producer.” 1943. The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov 546–59. Bend Sinister. 1947. New York: Vintage, 1990. “The Circle” (“Krug”). 1934. Trans. Dmitri Nabokov with Vladimir Nabokov. 1973. The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov 375–84. “Cloud, Castle, Lake” (“Oblako, ozero, bashnia”). 1937. Trans. Peter Pertzov with Vladimir Nabokov. 1941. The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov 430–37. “Conversation Piece, 1945.” 1945. The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov 587–97. Dear Bunny, Dear Volodya: The Nabokov–Wilson Letters, 1940–1971. Rev. ed. Ed. Simon Karlinsky. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. Despair (Otchaianie). 1934. Trans. Vladimir Nabokov. 1965. Harmondsworth: Pen- guin, 1981. “Details of a Sunset” (“Katastrofa”). 1924. Trans. Dmitri Nabokov with Vladimir Nabokov. 1976. The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov 79–85. “An Evening of Russian Poetry.” 1945. Poems and Problems 158–63. The Eye (Sogliadatai). 1930. Trans. Dmitri Nabokov with Vladimir Nabokov. 1965. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992. The Gift (Dar). 1938. Trans. Michael Scammell with Vladimir Nabokov. 1963. Har- mondsworth: Penguin, 1981. Glory (Podvig). 1931. Trans. Dmitri Nabokov with Vladimir Nabokov. New York: McGraw, 1971. The Grand-dad (Dedushka). 1923. Trans. Dmitri Nabokov. The Man from the USSR and Other Plays 285–307. Invitation to a Beheading (Priglashenie na kazn’). 1935. Trans. Dmitri Nabokov with Vladimir Nabokov. 1960. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963. “Iosif Krasnyi” (“Joseph the Red”). Stikhi 257. Istinnaia Zhizn’ Sebast’iana Naita (The Real Life of Sebastian Knight). Contains Rus- sian translations of The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (trans. A...
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