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Vladmir Nabokov Return to the Timeline
Vladmir Nabokov
Russian-born Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) sits in a parked car in Ithaca, New York, September 1958.

Carl Mydans/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Vladimir Nabokov, (1899-1977), was a Russian-born author. His novels are noted for their complicated plots and the complex attitudes they express toward their subjects. Critics praised Nabokov's novels for their wit, intricate use of words, and rich language. His novels, which are often satirical, include INVITATION TO A BEHEADING (published in the Soviet Union, 1938; United States, 1959), THE REAL LIFE OF SEBASTIAN KNIGHT (1941), LOLITA (published in France, 1955; United States, 1958), PNIN (1957), PALE FIRE (1962), and ADA (1969). Nabokov published collections of stories and poetry and translated several Russian literary classics into English. SPEAK, MEMORY (1951, expanded 1966) is his autobiography. A collection of his lectures at Cornell University in the 1950s was published as LECTURES ON LITERATURE (1980). THE STORIES OF VLADIMIR NABOKOV was published in 1995.

Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg. The family fled to Western Europe in 1919 because of the Bolshevik revolution. Nabokov attended Cambridge University in England from 1919 to 1922. From 1922 to 1940, he lived in Berlin and Paris among other Russians who had left their country because of the revolution. He wrote his novels in Russian, and most were later translated into English. In 1940, Nabokov settled in the United States and began to write in English. He returned to Europe to live in 1959.

Marcus Klein, Ph.D., Professor, Modern American Literature, State University of New York, Buffalo.

From THE WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA © 2007 World Book, Inc. By permission of the publisher. Visit World Book Encyclopedia for more information on Vladimir Nabokov and related subjects.

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The American Novel