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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Despair (Vintage International)

by

Despair (Vintage International) Cover

ISBN13: 9780679723431
ISBN10: 0679723439
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Extensively revised by Nabokov in 1965 — 30 years after its original publication — Despair is the wickedly inventive and richly derisive story of Hermann, a man who undertakes the perfect crime: his own murder.

Review:

"Nabakov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, estatically." John Updike

Synopsis:

US

Synopsis:

Extensively revised by Nabokov in 1965--thirty years after its original publication--Despair is the wickedly inventive and richly derisive story of Hermann, a man who undertakes the perfect crime--his own murder.

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

lisa_emily, October 30, 2007 (view all comments by lisa_emily)
A story mixed with finding one's double and some discoursing on art and duplicity. The narrator attempts the pefect murder under the guise of suicide. He is perceptually flawed, since he does not have the objectivity to see if the double he has selected can really pass for himself. The authorities reveal his crime as defective. Nabokov somehow entertwins some ideas on literary criticism parallelling with how the media persecutes the murderer within the story.

Should you read it? Yes, if you like Nabokov and if you like stories of psychologically questionable characters.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(10 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780679723431
Author:
Nabokov, Vladimir
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature
Subject:
Continental european fiction (fictional works
Subject:
Identity
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage International (Paperback)
Series Volume:
2
Publication Date:
19890531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8 x 5.15 x 0.63 in 0.5 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Despair (Vintage International) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780679723431 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Nabakov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, estatically."
"Synopsis" by , US
"Synopsis" by , Extensively revised by Nabokov in 1965--thirty years after its original publication--Despair is the wickedly inventive and richly derisive story of Hermann, a man who undertakes the perfect crime--his own murder.
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