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Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years
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Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years (Vladimir Nabokov #2)

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  208 ratings  ·  17 reviews
The story of Nabokov's life continues with his arrival in the United States in 1940. He found that supporting himself and his family was not easy--until the astonishing success of Lolita catapulted him to world fame and financial security.
Paperback, 800 pages
Published January 31st 1993 by Princeton University Press (first published January 1st 1991)
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“...every dimension presupposes a medium within which it can act, and if, in the spiral unwinding of things, space warps into something akin to time, and time, in its turn, warps into something akin to thought, then, surely, another dimension follows.”
-Speak, Memory


Above is one of my favorite pictures of Nabokov. “Nabokov smiling in the rain”. This is the Nabokov of his American years, plumped up after a doctor ordered him to stop smoking his regular 4 or more packs a day (he replaced his cigare...more
Adam Floridia
Boyd’s two part biography of Nabokov is absolutely enthralling. Boyd seamlessly weaves biographical details about his subject with literary criticism about the works of his subject. Ultimately, I cannot imagine a more complete picture of Vladimir Nabokov; further, in this picture Nabokov is truly (and accurately) painted as one of the greatest literary minds of the twentieth century.
Boyd identifies one of VN’s most pressing concerns as the absurd inability of human consciousness to return to t...more
As good as the first volume, probably a little better. There's certainly a lot more information available about N during the second half of his life, especially anecdotes and personal stories that bring him to life much more fully. At times the two volumes almost seem to be about two different people. There's so little in the way of stories about his personality and behavior in the first volume that he came off as somewhat aloof and distant, while this one reveals him to be an extremely friendly...more
I find that biography provides the path I need to enter into the world of a great writer, to comprehend as well as I can the experience, personality and mind of someone whose fiction I want to read and understand. For example, I read six or seven biographies of Marcel Proust before I could finish his great novel, actually before I could proceed beyond the first 200 pages of volume one. And then I read all 3300 pages nearly without interruption and with great pleasure and insight.
For decades I've...more
Christopher Sutch
Boyd's second volume of his sNabokov biography is less aggravating than his first. While Boyd still does not hesitate to celebrate the little contradictory small-minded prejudices of his subject, Boyd commits fewer misreadings of Nabokov's major works. Indeed, he very skillfully demonstrates what several of Nabokov's contemporary critics failed to realize: the uncompromising moral values of some of his more controversial works (Nabokov's admiration for his character Lolita, for example, and his...more
Katerina Sapunova
Great anecdotes, literary criticism part a bit overwhelmed (and overwhelming).
all-encompasing, last word on nabokov's life. coming in at over a thousand pages between the two volumes, i never was bored and always looked foward to getting off work so i could learn more about nabnokov's life and art!
just as amazing as the russian years, probs one of my favourite BOOKS and not just autobiographies. i really enjoy the way Boyd grounds & integrates literary analysis and criticism within the Nabokov's life.
Jul 12, 2009 s added it
I read parts of this for my undergraduate thesis.--Finally got around to reading the whole thing cover to cover. Now I'm ready for the highly anticipated publication of _The Original of Laura_.
Richard F. Schiller
Pretty much the same review as Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years. Great research, good analysis but a little too much Nabokovian worshiping from Boyd to my liking.
It was good. A series of successes is less interesting to me than the struggle, so I enjoyed the first volume, and the first half of this volume more than the second half.
Aug 17, 2007 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: literary bio types
terrific read about a truly inspirational man. Helped instill in me a greater appreciation for precision and detail in art and life.
Excellent descriptions/analysis of VN's works. Even if you don't want to read all the biographical details.
Guy Cranswick
As if Boyd is Nabokov's propagandist. The research is good but the analysis is poor
John Wagner
Vol 2 of a great biog of Nabokov, my favorite writer. A doorstopper of a book!
Jared Busch
Aug 10, 2011 Jared Busch marked it as to-read
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  • Lectures on Russian Literature
  • Vera (Mrs.Vladimir Nabokov)
  • The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov
  • James Joyce
  • Eugene Onegin, Vol. I (Text)
Brian Boyd (b.1952) is known primarily as an expert on the life and works of author Vladimir Nabokov and on literature and evolution. He is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

In 1979, after Boyd completed a PhD at the University of Toronto with a dissertation on Nabokov's novel Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle , he took up a p...more
More about Brian Boyd...
Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction Nabokov's Pale Fire: The Magic of Artistic Discovery Nabokov's ADA: The Place of Consciousness Stalking Nabokov

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“Writing of Pushkin, Nabokov once observed quite accurately that his subject was the threefold formula of human life: the irretrievability of the past, the insatiability of the present, and the unforeseeability of the future.” 3 likes
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