Biography Nabokov Vladimir Vladimirovich

(1899 – 1977)

NABOKOV Vladimir Vladimirovich [12 (24) April 1899, St. Petersburg – July 3, 1977, Montreux, Switzerland], Russian and American writer; prose writer, poet, dramatist, literary critic, translator.
In the literary history of the 20th century. this author occupies a unique place, and it is determined primarily by his bilingualism. A native of Russia, he carried the memory of his homeland through the years, materialized it in dozens of works of a different genre and rightfully became one of the premiers of the Russian literary scene. At the same time, Nabokov is considered the classic of the newest American prose, which the local “Sixties” call them – K. Vonnegut, J. Barth, T. Pinchon and T. Sazern. Moreover, strictly speaking, Nabokov, as a writer, was born on the other side of the Atlantic, in Russian literary chronicles there is V. Syrin, a pseudonym for the first, early 1920’s, poetic collections (Grosd, Gorniy Put ‘ ) and which survived until the late 1930s.
Nabokov was born in the family of a prominent liberal lawyer, hereditary nobleman VD Nabokov. The writer’s grandfather, D. N. Nabokov, served as Minister of Justice under Alexander II. Mother, Elena Ivanovna, came from a certain kind of gold miner-millionaire Rukavishnikov. The writer’s childhood was spent in St. Petersburg, for the summer the family went to their own small estate Batovo near Vyra. Near Batov was a huge rich estate Rozhdestveno, which belonged to the uncle of the future writer VI Rukavishnikov, who bequeathed it to his nephew. These places in Nabokov’s memory were recorded for life. On the eve of the October Revolution he managed to graduate from the Tenishev School, he was not only distinguished by his academic achievements, but also in sports. In 1918, a young Nabokov with his family first fled to the Crimea, and then in 1919 he emigrated from Russia. The Nabokovs’ family settled in Berlin, and the future writer entered Cambridge University (the famous Trinity College), which graduated successfully in 1922. After studying at Cambridge, he settled in Berlin (1922-1937). Then fate led him to France for two years, and literally on the eve of the invasion of the divisions of the Hitlerite Wehrmacht in Paris in 1940, Nabokov, together with his wife and young son Dmitry (later a singer of the Milan Opera and an energetic propagandist of his father’s literary heritage) crossed the Atlantic and remained almost 20 years in the USA, combining writing with teaching (first in one of the colleges, then at a major US university – Cornell, where he taught courses in Russian and world literature). In 1945, Nabokov received American citizenship. Here he made himself a worthy name as an entomologist – an interest in butterflies,
In 1959, Nabokov returned to Europe and settled in Switzerland, where he spent the remaining years. The road, in general, is characteristic (albeit with unique variations) for the Russian emigre writer. A similar path was made by many, including, for example, the famous poet and critic GV Adamovich, the uncompromising critic Nabokov parodically portrayed by him in many works, and also N. N. Berberov, on the contrary, his usual fan. Nevertheless, in the circle of the Berlin, and then the Paris literary diaspora, Nabokov immediately took a very special position. His Russia is not like Russia Bunin, Kuprin, IS Shmelev, BK Zaitsev. There is no place for the recognizable city and the recognizable village, there are no characters that could be called Russian types, there is no direct display of cataclysms, shook the national history of the past century. Russia Nabokov or, more precisely, Russia Syrina (one of the meanings of this word, according to Dahl, is a bird of paradise of Russian lubok) is the image of lost childhood, that is, innocence and harmony, it is “a sign, a call, a question thrown into the sky and receiving suddenly gorgeous, delicious response. ” This is said in “Mashenka” (1926) – a novel that brought the author first fame, and then this metaphor, taking a variety of stylistic forms, will pass through the entire work of the writer, until his last great book in Russian – the autobiography “Other Shores.” Russia Nabokov is also an irreproachably individual language, which he considered to be his main asset. “When in 1940,” the preface to “The Other Shores” says, “I decided to switch to English, my misfortune was that before that, for fifteen years, I had written in Russian, and for these years I had left my imprint on my gun, on my mediator. Turning to another language, I refused in this way, not from the language of Avvakum, Pushkin, Tolstoy or Ivanov, or Russian journalism, in short, not from a common language, but from an individual, blood clique. “Finally, Nabokov’s Russia is classical Russian literature. The West owes him translations into English (in part, and in French, which the author also knew perfectly) Pushkin, Lermontov, Tyutchev, “The Lay of Igor’s Host.” Along with the metaphorical image of Russia as a lost paradise, through Nabokov’s books there passes one existential t Ma, one key opposition: opposition to the creative, that is independent, personality to any attempts to attempt their own freedom. It defines the structure and sound of such novels as “Protection of the Luzhin” (1929), “Despair” (1936), “Gift” (1937).
Most of all Nabokov hated, hated sharp and sophisticated what he called “vulgarity”, putting in this concept extremely spacious content. Vulgarity in its most elementary form is bourgeois, not Marxist, as Nabokov always remonstrated, but in the Flauberian sense, for example, “a Mexican guitarist stands with a guitar knee-deep in a pond in pink silk pantaloons, lily heads swaying on the surface, he sings serenade, and his beloved is standing on the balcony, it is at midnight, and the lilies are falling off. ” Platitude is an attempt of morality, philosophy, history on the sovereign boundaries of art. That is why Nabokov so aggressively attacked Thomas Mann, Andre Malraux and even Dostoevsky, so contemptuously rejected the widespread judgment of Gogol as a denouncer of social vices and a compassionate “little man.” “His works, like all great literature, are a phenomenon of language, not ideas.” Platitude is the requirement of citizenship in literature. As an artist, as a philologist-literary critic, as a university professor, Nabokov was in a state of permanent war with the tradition of revolutionary-democratic criticism in Russia. The most acute form she took in the novel “Gift”, one of the five chapters of which is a hero-written art biography of Chernyshevsky. On the same topic, Nabokov spoke in an introductory lecture to Cornell’s course of Russian literature and the preface to the Russian translation of the novel “Lolita”: ” I do not read and do didactic fiction… For me, a story or novel exists only because it delivers to me what I simply call an aesthetic pleasure… Everything else is either journalistic rubbish or, so to speak, the Literature of Great Ideas, which, however, often does not differ from ordinary shredding, but it is served in the form of huge gypsum cubes, which with all precautions are transferred from century to century, until the brave man comes and properly fucks Balzac, Gorky and Thomas Mann. ” , vulgarity are totalitarian regimes, primarily Stalinist and Hitlerite, whose mirror-and-mirror reflection is revealed in the novels The Invitation to the Execution (1938), Under the Sign of the Bastards (in the English original – Bend Sinister), the short stories Korolek (1933) ), “The Extermination of Tyrants” (1936), “Lake, Cloud, Tower” (1937), the play “The Invention of Waltz” (1938) and a number of other works. The conflict in them is also solved in an existential way, that is, in terms of opposing personal freedom to external violence, why Nabokov always objected to comparing them with too urgent (journalistic, in his opinion) anti-utopias of Orwell, agreeing to recognize some of the rolls with Franz Kafka. The opposite pole of the artistic world of Nabokov is a creative gift and his bearer is an artist, whether he is a poet, like Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev (Dar), a chess player like Alexander Luzhin (Luzhin’s Defense), a man without a profession and biography, but an impenetrable person, that is, self-sufficient in a world where the mystery is pursued by law (Cincinnatus C. from the “Invitation to the Execution”). The Destruction of Tyrants (1936), The Lake, the Cloud, the Tower (1937), the play The Invention of the Waltz (1938) and a number of other works, the conflict is also solved existentially, that is, in terms of opposing personal freedom to external violence, why Nabokov always objected to comparing them with the too topical (publicistic, in his opinion) Orwellian anti-utopias, agreeing to recognize some of the rolls with Franz Kafka. The opposite pole of Nabokov’s artistic world is a creative gift and his bearer is an artist, whether he is a poet, like Fedor Godunov-Che (“Dar”), a chess player like Alexander Luzhin (“Luzhin’s Defense”), a man without a profession and biography, but a man impenetrable, that is self-sufficient in a world where the secret is pursued by law (Cincinnatus C. from “Invitation to the Execution” ). The Destruction of Tyrants (1936), The Lake, the Cloud, the Tower (1937), the play The Invention of the Waltz (1938) and a number of other works, the conflict is also solved existentially, that is, in terms of opposing personal freedom to external violence, why Nabokov always objected to comparing them with the too topical (publicistic, in his opinion) Orwellian anti-utopias, agreeing to recognize some of the rolls with Franz Kafka. The opposite pole of Nabokov’s artistic world is a creative gift and his bearer is an artist, whether he is a poet, like Fedor Godunov-Che (“Dar”), a chess player like Alexander Luzhin (“Luzhin’s Defense”), a man without a profession and biography, but a man impenetrable, that is self-sufficient in a world where the secret is pursued by law (Cincinnatus C. from “Invitation to the Execution” ). Lake, Cloud, Tower “(1937), the play” The invention of Waltz “(1938) and a number of other works. The conflict in them is also solved existentially, that is, in terms of opposing personal freedom to external violence, why Nabokov always objected to comparing them with too topical (publicistic, in his opinion) anti-utopia Orwell, agreeing to recognize some of the rolls with Franz Kafka. The opposite pole of Nabokov’s artistic world is a...creative gift and his bearer is an artist, whether he is a poet, like Fedor Godunov-Cherdyntsev (Dar), a chess player, as Alexander Luzhin (“Protection of the Luzhin”), a man without a profession and biography, but a man impenetrable, that is self-sufficient in a world where the secret is pursued by law (Cincinnatus Ts. from the “Invitation to the Execution”). Lake, Cloud, Tower “(1937), the play” The invention of Waltz “(1938) and a number of other works. The conflict in them is also solved existentially, that is, in terms of opposing personal freedom to external violence, why Nabokov always objected to comparing them with too topical (publicistic, in his opinion) anti-utopia Orwell, agreeing to recognize some of the rolls with Franz Kafka. The opposite pole of Nabokov’s artistic world is a creative gift and his bearer is an artist, whether he is a poet, like Fedor Godunov-Cherdyntsev (Dar), a chess player, as Alexander Luzhin (“Protection of the Luzhin”), a man without a profession and biography, but a man impenetrable, that is self-sufficient in a world where the secret is pursued by law (Cincinnatus Ts. from the “Invitation to the Execution”). The invention of Waltz “(1938) and a number of other works. The conflict in them is also solved existentially, that is, in terms of opposing personal freedom to external violence, why Nabokov always objected to comparing them with too urgent (journalistic, in his opinion) Orwellian anti-utopias, some overlap with Franz Kafka. The opposite pole of the artistic world of Nabokov is a creative gift and his bearer is an artist, whether he is a poet, like Fedor Godunov-Cherdyntsev (Dar), a chess player like Alexander Luzhin (“Defending Lu zhina “), a man without a profession and biography, but a man impenetrable, that is, self-sufficient in a world where the secret is pursued by law (Cincinnatus Ts. from” Invitation to Execution “). The invention of Waltz “(1938) and a number of other works. The conflict in them is also solved existentially, that is, in terms of opposing personal freedom to external violence, why Nabokov always objected to comparing them with too urgent (journalistic, in his opinion) Orwellian anti-utopias, some overlap with Franz Kafka. The opposite pole of the artistic world of Nabokov is a creative gift and his bearer is an artist, whether he is a poet, like Fedor Godunov-Cherdyntsev (Dar), a chess player like Alexander Luzhin (“Defending Lu zhina “), a man without a profession and biography, but a man impenetrable, that is, self-sufficient in a world where the secret is pursued by law (Cincinnatus Ts. from” Invitation to Execution “). The conflict in them is also solved in an existential way, that is, in terms of opposing personal freedom to external violence, why Nabokov always objected to comparing them with too urgent (journalistic, in his opinion) anti-utopias of Orwell, agreeing to recognize some of the rolls with Franz Kafka. The opposite pole of the artistic world of Nabokov is a creative gift and his bearer is an artist, whether he is a poet, like Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev (Dar), a chess player like Alexander Luzhin (Luzhin’s Defense), a man without a profession and biography, but an impenetrable person, that is, self-sufficient in a world where the mystery is pursued by law (Cincinnatus C. from the “Invitation to the Execution”). The conflict in them is also solved in an existential way, that is, in terms of opposing personal freedom to external violence, why Nabokov always objected to comparing them with too urgent (journalistic, in his opinion) anti-utopias of Orwell, agreeing to recognize some of the rolls with Franz Kafka. The opposite pole of the artistic world of Nabokov is a creative gift and his bearer is an artist, whether he is a poet, like Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev (Dar), a chess player like Alexander Luzhin (Luzhin’s Defense), a man without a profession and biography, but an impenetrable person, that is, self-sufficient in a world where the mystery is pursued by law (Cincinnatus C. from the “Invitation to the Execution”). why Nabokov always objected to comparing them with too urgent (publicistic, in his opinion) anti-utopia Orwell, agreeing to recognize some of the rolls with Franz Kafka. The opposite pole of the artistic world of Nabokov is a creative gift and his bearer is an artist, whether he is a poet, like Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev (Dar), a chess player like Alexander Luzhin (Luzhin’s Defense), a man without a profession and biography, but an impenetrable person, that is, self-sufficient in a world where the mystery is pursued by law (Cincinnatus C. from the “Invitation to the Execution”). why Nabokov always objected to comparing them with too urgent (publicistic, in his opinion) anti-utopia Orwell, agreeing to recognize some of the rolls with Franz Kafka. The opposite pole of the artistic world of Nabokov is a creative gift and his bearer is an artist, whether he is a poet, like Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev (Dar), a chess player like Alexander Luzhin (Luzhin’s Defense), a man without a profession and biography, but an impenetrable person, that is, self-sufficient in a world where the mystery is pursued by law (Cincinnatus C. from the “Invitation to the Execution”).
The central themes and general aesthetic foundations of V. Sirin’s creativity have found continuation and development in Nabokov’s English-language work. In a certain sense, the language, virtuous and unique, is not only an “instrument and intermediary,” but also a hero of all his books. Nabokov was often compared to Joseph Conrad, who also became a classic of literature in a language that was not originally native to him (by the nationality of Conrad – a Pole), but the author of “Lolita” such a comparison jarred. Conrad, he said, better than me can handle “ready-made English, but my verbal gymnastics is not available to him.” In the same way, in Nabokov’s main American works, the novels The True Life of Sebastian Knight (1941), Under the Sign of Bastards (1944), The Pale Fire (1962),
A special place in this row is occupied by Lolita (1955) – the only one of Nabokov’s novels translated into Russian by the author himself. This book brought him a worldwide reputation for scandalous, true, sense, which is not surprising: its storyline was formed by the love story of a very mature man and a twelve-year-old nymphet girl. But the plot is just a frame of inescapable existential anguish. The sharp originality of the novel lies not in the abundance of scabrous scenes (there are not so many of them in fact, what the author himself thought necessary to draw attention to, while explaining to “readers-tourists” in the afterword to the Russian edition of the novel), but in a frank shift of proportions. If in previous books the human gift and worthless platitude is clearly divorced by the poles, then the colors are condensed. The title character is an embodied vulgarity, this is for her ” they were the ideal consumer, the subject and the object of every vile poster. “But in her, Lolita,” feels inexplicable, immaculate tenderness, showing through the musk and filth, through stench and death. “Ironically, with all the chronic Nabokov’s dislike for Dostoevsky behind the depraved nympho, Matryoshka from the “Confession of Nikolai Stavrogin” in The Devils, and Sonechka Marmeladova from “Crime and Punishment” also rise invisibly: it is Lolita, albeit in shocking form, that allows the restoration of Nabokov’s art world in about all its authenticity, refusing from superficial, but very common judgments. The essence of them comes to the fact that Nabokov is a writer for writers, his work is literature of literature, a giant library, on the shelves of which there are no order of the authors of different epochs and peoples. In the pages of his books, Shakespeare and Tolstoy, Schiller and Coleridge, Edgar Pau and Baudelaire, Dante and Hawthorne, Chekhov and Rimbaud, the incessant roll call, can be continued indefinitely. A special place is taken by Pushkin – the standard, in the eyes of Nabokov, the size, not without reason he spent ten years on the English translation of “Eugene Onegin”, which, incidentally, caused a great stir in academic and readership circles. Striving for maximum accuracy, Nabokov shifted the novel prose and accompanied him with a giant commentary on the volume. Chekhov and Rambo – a number of great names can continue indefinitely. A special place is taken by Pushkin – the standard, in the eyes of Nabokov, the size, not without reason he spent ten years on the English translation of “Eugene Onegin”, which, incidentally, caused a great stir in academic and readership circles. Striving for maximum accuracy, Nabokov shifted the novel prose and accompanied him with a giant commentary on the volume. Chekhov and Rambo – a number of great names can continue indefinitely. A special place is taken by Pushkin – the standard, in the eyes of Nabokov, the size, not without reason he spent ten years on the English translation of “Eugene Onegin”, which, incidentally, caused a great stir in academic and readership circles. Striving for maximum accuracy, Nabokov shifted the novel prose and accompanied him with a giant commentary on the volume.
The last major work of Nabokov, the novel “Ada” (1969) – is in general, using poststructuralist terminology, intertext, a mixture of a variety of stylistic traditions, a meeting of a variety of authors. He is rightly considered an introduction to postmodern literature with its strongly expressed parodic principle and amalgam of genres – from high to low, at the level of mass culture. Nevertheless, the role of virtuoso-magician, lover of “crosswords” and anagrams, the role of the scholarly archivist Nabokov is clearly cramped. The hatred of citizenship and the lover of verbal games, the inspired artist, with suspicion relating to metaphysics and morality, he at the same time never becomes confined to the framework of pure speech. In his novels, stories, poems it is difficult and even impossible to find a reflection of the actual events of our time, but they always discern what he himself called “otherworldliness,” that is, the transcendental world of truth. It is not for nothing that, in the same afterword to Lolita, the author, having abandoned habitual restraint, writes that literature is “a special state in which one feels himself – somehow, somewhere, in some way – connected with other forms of being, where art (ie, curiosity, tenderness, kindness, harmony, delight) is the norm. “


Biography Nabokov Vladimir Vladimirovich