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Invitation to a Beheading (Vintage International)


Invitation to a Beheading (Vintage International) Cover

ISBN13: 9780679725312
ISBN10: 0679725318
Condition: Standard
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About the Author

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was born on April 23, 1899, in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Nabokovs were known for their high culture and commitment to public service, and the elder Nabokov was an outspoken opponent of antisemitism and one of the leaders of the opposition party, the Kadets. In 1919, following the Bolshevik revolution, he took his family into exile. Four years later he was shot and killed at a political rally in Berlin while trying to shield the speaker from right-wing assassins.

The Nabokov household was trilingual, and as a child Nabokov was already reading Wells, Poe, Browning, Keats, Flaubert, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Tolstoy, and Chekhov, alongside the popular entertainments of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne. As a young man, he studied Slavic and romance languages at Trinity College, Cambridge, taking his honors degree in 1922. For the next eighteen years he lived in Berlin and Paris, writing prolifically in Russian under the pseudonym Sirin and supporting himself through translations, lessons in English and tennis, and by composing the first crossword puzzles in Russian. In 1925 he married Vera Slonim, with whom he had one child, a son, Dmitri.

Having already fled Russia and Germany, Nabokov became a refugee once more in 1940, when he was forced to leave France for the United States. There he taught at Wellesley, Harvard, and Cornell. He also gave up writing in Russian and began composing fiction in English. In his afterword to Lolita he claimed: "My private tragedy, which cannot, and indeed should not, be anybody's concern, is that I had to abandon my natural idiom, my untrammeled, rich, and infinitely docile Russian tongue for a second-rate brand of English, devoid of any of those apparatuses--the baffling mirror, the black velvet backdrop, the implied associations and traditions--which the native illusionist, frac-tails flying, can magically use to transcend the heritage in his own way." [p. 317] Yet Nabokov's American period saw the creation of what are arguably his greatest works, Bend Sinister (1947), Lolita (1955), Pnin (1957), and Pale Fire (1962), as well as the translation of his earlier Russian novels into English. He also undertook English translations of works by Lermontov and Pushkin and wrote several books of criticism. Vladimir Nabokov died in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1977.

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lukas, June 12, 2015 (view all comments by lukas)
hat's one invitation you might not want to RSVP to! An early, somewhat unformed novel by the author of "Lolita." Nabokov and his family fled Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution, settled in Berlin, where he composed this, and then fled the Nazis. "Invitation to a Beheading" was written in Russian and originally published serially in a Paris magazine. Many reviewers compared it to Kafka, but Nabokov, in the introduction, said he hadn't read any Kafka yet. This edition was translated by Nabokov and his son Dmitri and Nabokov's later, more famous books were written in English. This novel, one of his few political ones (although he claimed to disdain politics) is for the serious Nabokov reader only. He called it "a violin in a void."
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ohteppei, November 26, 2010 (view all comments by ohteppei)
My fictional Tin Drum, Invitation is where I think we all stand; in a prison never knowing when it's our time. Despite his far more popular works such as Lolita and The Gift, Nabokov managed to capture my mind with this book. It's daunting and precious structure tells the story of a man condemned to death because he wasn't the same as everyone else. One of the most beautifully written books I've ever read and a firm recommendation for any one who appreciated Nabokov's other works or any Dostoyevsky book.
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Product Details

Nabokov, Dmitri
Vintage Books USA
Nabokov, Dmitri
Nabokov, Vladimir
New York
Novels and novellas
Continental european fiction (fictional works
20th century
Russian & Former Soviet Union
Continental european
Russian fiction
Russian fiction -- 20th century.
Literature-A to Z
fiction;novel;literature;russian;20th century;russian literature;nabokov;russia;classic;prison;classics;surrealism;vladimir nabokov;dystopia;american;russian fiction;1930s;satire;existentialism;death;surreal
fiction;novel;literature;russian;20th century;russian literature;nabokov;russia;classic;classics;dystopia;prison;surrealism;american;vladimir nabokov;1930s;russian fiction;satire;existentialism;surreal;20th century literature;death
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Vintage International (Paperback)
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 x 5.2 x 0.62 in 0.5 lb

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