Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977)

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch18

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977), in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch18

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675



  • Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977) - author, of the most famous books in twentieth-century American literature, born in Russia;
  • Nabokov's fiction, broad international background - peopled by cosmopolitan figures with complex international identities;
  • Nabokov, publishing two volumes of poetry - and a Russian translation of Alice in Wonderland;
  • first novel Nabokov wrote in English - an attempt to expand his audience, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight;
  • writer and critic Edmund Wilson - supporter in Nabokov's first years in the United States;
  • Nabokov, and writing of Lolita, 1950 - not finishing the novel till 1953, delayed by his teaching duties;
  • narrator of Lolita, Humbert Humbert manipulating readers - just as he manipulates the young girl whom he abuses;
  • provocative subject matter of Lolita - causing US publishers, to be wary of publishing the manuscript;
  • Ada or Ardor, A Family Chronicle (1969) - long, complex novel, mixed reception, and a love story, treatise on nature of time and memory;
  • Nabokov, recognized as one of the most important living writers - his English novels following Pale Fire, meeting with mixed reactions from readers and critics


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Bibliography