Nabokov in America: On the Road to Lolita

Nabokov in America On the Road to Lolita The author of the immortal Lolita and Pale Fire born to an eminent Russian family conjures the apotheosis of the high modernist artist cultured refined as European as they come But Vladimir Nabokov

  • Title: Nabokov in America: On the Road to Lolita
  • Author: Robert Roper
  • ISBN: 9780802743633
  • Page: 194
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The author of the immortal Lolita and Pale Fire, born to an eminent Russian family, conjures the apotheosis of the high modernist artist cultured, refined as European as they come But Vladimir Nabokov, who came to America fleeing the Nazis, came to think of his time here as the richest of his life Indeed, Nabokov was not only happiest here, but his best work flowed froThe author of the immortal Lolita and Pale Fire, born to an eminent Russian family, conjures the apotheosis of the high modernist artist cultured, refined as European as they come But Vladimir Nabokov, who came to America fleeing the Nazis, came to think of his time here as the richest of his life Indeed, Nabokov was not only happiest here, but his best work flowed from his response to this exotic land.Robert Roper fills out this period in the writer s life with charm and insight covering Nabokov s critical friendship with Edmund Wilson, his time at Cornell, his role at Harvard s Museum of Comparative Zoology But Nabokov in America finds its narrative heart in his serial sojourns into the wilds of the West, undertaken with his wife, Vera, and their son over than a decade Nabokov covered than 200,000 miles as he indulged his other passion butterfly collecting Roper has mined fresh sources to bring detail to these journeys, and traces their significant influence in Nabokov s work on two lane highways and in late 40s motels and caf s, we feel Lolita draw near, and understand Nabokov s seductive familiarity with the American mundane Nabokov in America is also a love letter to U.S literature, in Nabokov s broad embrace of it from Melville to the Beats Reading Roper, we feel anew the mountain breezes and the miles logged, the rich learning and the Romantic mind behind some of Nabokov s most beloved books.

    One thought on “Nabokov in America: On the Road to Lolita”

    1. The challenge in writing a review of this work of nonfiction is to give suitable credit to the author of "Nabokov in America" without being influenced by the content of Roper about the work of Nabokov in "Lolita." Having read both books now I can say that the work of Roper seems scholarly enough and he paints an intriguing picture of a highly gifted novelist whom many claim is a literary genius outright. Nabokov suffered for his writing by living in poverty after barely escaping Europe with his [...]

    2. Vladimir Nabokov lived for most of his life in exile, first in Germany after the Bolshevik Revolution, then in France after the Nazi takeover of the German state, and then in the United States after the German occupation of France, living for the last sixteen years of his life in Switzerland, following the success of Lolita.This book describes his American years, when he was reinventing himself as an American novelist, simultaneously eking out an income as a college lecturer, New Yorker contribu [...]

    3. One must admire anyone willing to interlace their own prose with Nabokov's, as Roper does extensively here, quoting liberally from Nabokov's letters—especially to Edmund Wilson—as well as from his books in a study whose biographical structure is largely a framework on which Roper hangs his analyses of Nabokov's work and its influences. This being said, Roper's stated intention to "borrow Nabokov back from the scholars" never quite seems to be accomplished. His analysis of Nabokov's prose is [...]

    4. My GR friend , Leslie, led me to this article about the book: nytimes/2015/11/15/booLink provided for others interested.

    5. I was an innocent when I first read Lolita by Nabokov, not even old enough to vote. My college professor must have gotten a kick out of my reactions to this novel as I wasn’t much older than Lolita, being as naive as a youngster. I’ll admit that I had never read a book like this before, but I must have brought something to the table as I got an A in the course.So when I saw this book, I wondered about Nabokov and his motivations. Although I didn’t remember all the details, how could one fo [...]

    6. Good intro to Nabokov's life with a focus on his American novels, most notably Loloita, their creation and his career,

    7. I get the impression that Roper is trying to set his work in contrast to Brian Boyd's (famous for his definitive, two volume Nabokov biography and several critical works). Where Boyd is practically worshipful of N, generally presents his personality in a very positive light (possibly at least partially due to needing N's widow's approval in order to gain access to his papers), and holding a high critical assessment of virtually all of his work, Roper seems almost to go out of his way to present [...]

    8. This book is entitled “ in America,” but I think it could with equal accuracy be called Nabokov and Lolita, since it is very much about the preparation for, production, and reception of his great American novel. Roper not only immersed himself in the vast body of writing the Russian emigré created, as well as the flood of secondary literature about him, he also retraced Nabokov’s discovery of his new homeland, following him not only to the academic and literary centers Manhattan, Cambridg [...]

    9. Some slight stylistic annoyances aside (oddly constructed sentences and a shifting viewpoint) this book combines an exploration of the travel and trajectory of Nabokov in the making of his masterpiece with a literary appreciation and assessment of the work as a whole.Roper's book mostly traces Nabokov's American journey and the road trips the great writer took in coming to understand and ultimately describe his adopted home land in his great American road novel, 'Lolita'. The descriptions (and s [...]

    10. Always admire authors who write English classics when English wasn't their primary language like Conrad and Nabokov.Russia ' s loss is our gain. For over a hundred years now Russia has lost some it's best human capital like Nabokov.As this book makes clear he certainly didn't have any self esteem issues and seem petty with many other authors. The most important being his first sponsor and best friend Edmund Wilson.They disagreed about how evil Lenin and Stalin really were. Nabokov was right. Muc [...]

    11. Interesting background to the writing of that controversial masterpiece, Lolita. Hotels and travels across America, discussions and arguments with other writers, New Yorker commas, publishing controversies, the writing and translating of other works in the meantime, his luminous prose and clunky dialogue I have read much of Nabokov many (*many*) years ago, but only caught up with Pnin last year and loved the forgetful professor. I started on Ada and got bogged down. Might try it again.This book [...]

    12. I wanted very much to read this book, but was somewhat disappointed. The story is told in minute detail, but I came away with a not very pleasant impression of Nabokov. He was for years my absolute favorite writer, but that infatuation has abated somewhat. Still, the story of how he came to write Lolita is remarkable. Nowadays, I prefer his novels like Pnin and earlier books, like The Real Life of Sebastian Knight and others.Finally, I have to put aside his politics and continue reading him, or [...]

    13. This extremely well researched book about the American years of author Vladimir Nabokov explores the dramatic influence his adopted country had on his writing and life. I thought I knew Nabokov and his books well, but I learned a lot from this book. Roper brought great understanding to the novels and the influences that led Nabokov to create them as he did. I enjoyed this beautifully written biography of Nabokov in America.

    14. I'm not usually someone who reads biographies, but I found Roper's writing to be very compelling and insightful. He describes Nabokov's unique life story, his journey to writing Lolita, as well as touching on his eccentric personality. At times it got a little slow when I felt that Roper went into too much detail about very specific subjects. Overall, however, it was a great read.

    15. A road trip in Nabokov's discovery of America and in the genesis of his masterpiece, Lolita. Some digressions could have been shorter and the focus on Lolita even stronger. All in all, it makes for a delectable reading for the Lolita aficionados.

    16. Almost. Less hagiographic than Boyd's biographies, which was useful, but didn't quite gel as a biography or a work of criticism. I do agree with Roper's assessment that VN's later novels aren't as good.

    17. Lovely read. From action research (on butterfly species) to the great american outdoors to (indeed) the utter monstrousness of Humbert Humbert's (legacy of) child abuse. Literary, esoteric, scholarly . Absolute compelling reading.

    18. Fascinating and erudite look at Nabokov's years in America in the 1940s and 1950s. Much of this time was spent on road trips across America to hunt for butterflies and gather the material that would eventually be transformed in "Lolita."

    19. Now here's the real threat to my foray into YA I'm not far in, and it's quite good. How can I resist? Or dare allow juvenalia to otherwise occupy? (picks "Me Before You" back up)

    20. Interesting book that focuses on Nabokov's years in the US teaching, writing and collecting butterflies. Insights into his work, especially "Lolita." Good selection of photos.

    21. A great read, worthy of its subject! I put it down with a renewed interest in reading VN's other novels, especially Pnin and Pale Fire.

    22. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of insights into how "Lolita" came to be, and I loved the comparisons. ("The Catcher in the Rye"! "Moby-Dick"!) Then there was Nabokov the butterfly collector. Great read.

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