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The Nabokov-Wilson letters: Correspondence between Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson 1940-1971

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  117 ratings  ·  9 reviews
"Simon Karlinsky has substantially expanded and revised the first edition of Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson's correspondence to include fifty-nine letters discovered subsequent to the book's original publication in 1979. Since then five volumes of Edmund Wilson's diaries have been published, as well as a volume of Nabokov's correspondence with other people and Brian Bo ...more
Paperback, 346 pages
Published January 1st 1980 by Harper & Row (first published 1979)
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Christopher Sutch
A very interesting, edifying, and quite sad book. The last thirty or so pages where the correspondence begins to deteriorate just before the two authors' public argument over Nabokov's translation of Eugene Onegin is particularly moving. While I found both men to be sympathetic, I found Wilson, despite his frequent errors and misunderstandings, to be the one I admired more (he was tremendously more open-minded that Nabokov was, and, at least in this correspondence, admits to making mistakes, whi ...more
I love that one of the first things Wilson writes to Nabokov is this: "do please refrain from puns, to which I see you have a slight propensity. They are pretty much excluded from serious journalism here."
Two brilliant, arrogant pedants exchange potshots and adulation over three decades. What's interesting here, at least to me, is how much nicer and more supportive Nabokov is than Wilson.
This is a running dialogue over 30 years that can be read almost like a novel. VN here is not the same persona that we see in his Letters of VN, particularly the late letters, nor the lover of the one-sided (but wonderful) Letters to Vera Instead, he is writing to Wilson as a peer and it shows. Wilson is one of the few men of letters who could arguably be said to be more knowledgable and prolific than Nabokov. There’s lots of lively discussion about various books. Wilson tastes are decidedly mor ...more
I can barely write a review of this book after having just finished it because I am so dwarfed by Wilson and Nabokov's letters. This is a truly entertaining, not to mention beautifully written and insightful, exchange between the two authors and fans of either man will greatly appreciate it.
Two glittering literati discuss editors, translation, pornography, their families and more.
Vladimir gives Edmund his little lessons in Russian but not enough before it is too late. (See Wilson's review of Nabokov's Onegin translation, NYRB, July 15, 1965 Edition)
chantal Rich
May 09, 2007 chantal Rich is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I'm still reading this one - it was a present from Jeremy. I brought it to work and keep it on my desk, that way I look pretentious and I have something to read for when it's slow.
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Russian: Владимир Владимирович Набоков

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin, was a Russian-American novelist. Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist. He also made significant contributions to lepidoptery and had an interest in chess problems.

Nabokov's Lolita (1955) is frequently cit
More about Vladimir Nabokov...
Lolita Pale Fire Pnin Invitation to a Beheading Speak, Memory

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“[On Du Bois] Celebrated Negro scholar and organizer. 70 years old, but looks 50. Dusky face, grizzled goatee, nice wrinkles, big ears — prodigiously like a White Russian General in mufti played sympathetically by Emil Jannings. Piebald hands. Brilliant talker, with an old-world touch. Très gentilhomme. Smokes special Turkish cigarettes. Charming and distinguished in other, more important, ways. Told me that when he went to England he was listed as “Colonel” on the Channel boat, because his name bore the addition “Col.” on his passport.” 4 likes
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