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Vladimir Nabokov
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message 1: by Geoff (last edited Oct 03, 2012 11:01AM) (new)

Geoff | 53 comments I am aspiring to Nabokov totality. I am including in this ideal totality Brian Boyd's voluminous volumes The Russian Years and The American Years, through which I am at present slogging. Join me in slogging, or slag me off, or let's make a list and check it twice for all of VN's works. (I'm hoping Eric will join up, though I'm pretty sure he is a Nabokov completist already. I'll fashion him a merit badge.)

The Works

Fiction
-Mary
-King, Queen, Knave
-The Defense (also called The Luzhin Defense)
-The Eye
-Glory
-Laughter in the Dark
-Despair
-Invitation to a Beheading
-The Gift
-The Enchanter
-The Real Life of Sebastian Knight
-Bend Sinister
-Lolita
-Pnin
-Ada or Ardor, A Family Chronicle
-Transparent Things
-Look At The Harlequins!
-The Original of Laura
-The Complete Stories

Drama
-The Waltz Invention
-The Tragedy of Mister Morn
-Lolita: A Screenplay
-The Man From the USSR

Poetry
-Selected Poems
-Verses and Versions
-Poems and Problems

Nonfiction, Translations, Etc.
-Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (trans.-Russian)
-A Hero of Our Time (Lermontov) (trans.)
-Speak, Memory
-Nikolai Gogol
-Eugene Onegin (two volumes) (trans.)
-Strong Opinions
-The Nabokov-Wilson Letters
-Carrousel (short writings)
-Selected Letters
-Three Russian Poets-Pushkin, Lermontov, Tyutchev (trans.)
-The Song of Igor's Campaign: An Epic of the Twelfth Century (trans.)
-Lectures on Russian Literature
-Lectures on Literature
-Lectures on Don Quixote
-Vladimir Nabokov The Russian Years by Brian Boyd
-Vladimir Nabokov The American Years by Brian Boyd
-Stalking Nabokov: Essays by Brian Boyd
-Nabokov's Butterflies
-Keys To The Gift by Yuri Leving
-Annotated Lolita

Feel free to add anything I overlooked...


message 2: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments Thanks for the list, Ali. I have yet to read: The Complete Stories, Ada, Lectures on Don Quixote, Lectures on Russian Literature, Selected Poems, Speak, Memory, Strong Opinions, The Enchanter, The Gift, The Luzhin Defense, Despair, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight and his Nikolai Gogol book. Only fifteen to go.


message 3: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments And Bend Sinister. Sixteen to go.


message 4: by Eric (last edited Sep 17, 2012 02:54PM) (new)

Eric Geoff wrote: (I'm hoping Eric will join up, though I'm pretty sure he is a Nabokov completist already. I'll fashion him a merit badge.)

I won't earn that badge until I read Look at the Harlequins and The Enchanter. And the plays, which I hope are better than the poems.


message 5: by Kendra (new)

Kendra (okaynevermind) | 7 comments Read:
Lolita, Pale Fire, Invitation to a Beheading, Speak, Memory; Ada, Despair, King, Queen, Knave

Own but not read: The Stories and Bend Sinister

And I thought I would be at least somewhat in the forefront, but I've actually a long way to go.


message 6: by Geoff (new)

Geoff | 53 comments Eric, really, two slim volumes, you should just do it and be done. Are the plays even available?

Read: Invitation to a Beheading, Despair, The Defense, Lolita, Pale Fire, Pnin, Ada, Speak, Memory, The Gift, Sebastian Knight, Lectures on Russian Literature, Lectures on Literature, Boyd's The Russian Years, Boyds Stalking Nabokov, and a number of the stories but not the complete.

So I've got a bunch to go.


message 7: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments Geoff: Could you add a list of Nabokov's complete works to your first post? It'll be helpful to have all the threads start with a list of the work.


message 8: by Geoff (new)

Geoff | 53 comments Done.


message 9: by Eric (last edited Sep 18, 2012 09:02AM) (new)

Eric http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54...

Out of print, though not hard to find used. I didn't like the recent Selected Poems; too arch, cute. "University Poem" was a big letdown. I suppose I should add the Onegin commentary to my list? And I'm not sure I ever finished Glory.


message 10: by Nate D (new)

Nate D (rockhyrax) | 120 comments Sweet, thanks for the listing, Geoff.


message 11: by Geoff (new)

Geoff | 53 comments No problem, Nate.


message 12: by Geoff (new)

Geoff | 53 comments Eric wrote: "http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54...

Out of print, though not hard to find used. I didn't like the recent Selected Poems; too arch, cute. "University Poem" was a ..."


Yeah I think the Onegin commentary is part of the package, Eric. I plan on doing both volumes, hopefully this year.


message 13: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments Hmmmm... but... that's cheating!?? (sorta)
-Vladimir Nabokov The Russian Years by Brian Boyd
-Vladimir Nabokov The American Years by Brian Boyd
-Stalking Nabokov: Essays by Brian Boyd


Oh well, i still have a lot of Nabokov to read, anyways....


message 14: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Jackson | 6 comments I've read all VN novels except for: Glory, Look at the Harlequins!, Mary, and Knight, Queen, Knave. Oh, yeah, and Ada.

Any recommendations from completists about which of these should be moved to the top of my list?


message 15: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments Am I the only one who finds the Russian novels less satisfying than the English ones?


message 16: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments MJ wrote: "Am I the only one who finds the Russian novels less satisfying than the English ones?"

Not sure what you mean....?


message 17: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments The ones originally written in Russian. Not in English. In the language of Russia, i.e. Russian, i.e. not the language of England, i.e. English. Clear? :p


message 18: by Geoff (new)

Geoff | 53 comments MJ wrote: "Am I the only one who finds the Russian novels less satisfying than the English ones?"

I rank The Gift among his best, with Pale Fire, Lolita, Speak Memory. It's a masterpiece.


message 19: by Geoff (new)

Geoff | 53 comments Jeff wrote: "I've read all VN novels except for: Glory, Look at the Harlequins!, Mary, and Knight, Queen, Knave. Oh, yeah, and Ada.

Any recommendations from completists about which of these should be moved to..."


Ada is a big mess, but it's fun to read.


message 20: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Jackson | 6 comments Am I the only one who finds the Russian novels less satisfying than the English ones?

In general, I think the English ones are better. But I agree with Geoff that The Gift is great. I'd rate The Defense high as well.


message 21: by Eric (new)

Eric Jeff, KQK is good. Should go to the top, closely followed by Ada.

MJ, you've opened the can of worms in Nabokov criticism, the perils and rewards of retrospective autotranslation, and late-career canon management. And there are a host of comparative studies of the Russian novels and their decades-distant translations. What a tricky writer! His bibliography is high drama.

Geoff, good on you. The commentary seems like a paradise of strong opinions. "...the solace of research in palatial libraries..."


message 22: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments Scanning the list again I see I may be wrong. The Eye, Laughter in the Dark and The Luzhin Defence were all fine translations. I hope to worm my way back in to Vlad's work soon.


message 23: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) I think you've missed Poems and Problems?

I am close to complete on the fiction, but have read hardly any of the non-fiction works - only Speak, Memory and the translation of Eugene Onegin.


message 24: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments Manny wrote: "the translation of Eugene Onegin."

Manny reads work in translation shocker!


message 25: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Well, the whole point is to show that translation is impossible... it's a remarkably elaborate joke. I can't imagine anyone except Nabokov going to these lengths.


message 26: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 148 comments I hope to one day be a Nabakov completist. The man is brilliant. Thank you for the list, Geoff.


message 27: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments MJ wrote: "The ones originally written in Russian. Not in English. In the language of Russia, i.e. Russian, i.e. not the language of England, i.e. English. Clear? :p"

Well... hard to tell, since some might have gone lost in translation... (unless one is lucky enough to know Russian, of course)


message 28: by Geoff (new)

Geoff | 53 comments Manny wrote: "I think you've missed Poems and Problems?"

Fixed! Thanks Manny!


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

I've read all the fiction. My personal preference is ranked thus:

1-The Complete Stories
2-Glory
3-The Real Life of Sebastian Knight
4-Lolita
5-Pale Fire
6-Invitation to a Beheading
7-The Defense
8-Transparent Things
9-The Gift
10-Pnin
11-Bend Sinister
12-Despair
13-The Eye
14-Ada or Ardor, A Family Chronicle
15-The Original of Laura
16-Mary
17-Look At The Harlequins!
18-The Enchanter
19-Laughter in the Dark
20-King, Queen, Knave


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Pale Fire is missing up top.


message 31: by Geoff (new)

Geoff | 53 comments I set the goal of finishing the American Years, his fiction, and his Onegin for myself this year. Unfortunately, when I set reading goals for myself, I often find ways of undermining my own ambitions, i.e. I am an easily distracted reader. Nabokov has special powers over me, though-I tend to get caught very easily in his spell...


message 32: by Kendra (last edited Sep 22, 2012 07:50AM) (new)

Kendra (okaynevermind) | 7 comments Justin, might I inquire what you have against King, Queen, Knave? Not that putting something last is being *against* something, but, why is it last? And how would you rank his autobiography (if you've read it) among his fiction?

My next Nabokov will be Bend Sinister, the rest of this year or the next. I have his short stories waiting but collections are hard for me to do.


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

I would put Speak, Memory at #3.


King, Queen, Knave left me feeling so empty. I like many dark stories, but there's a certain kind of darkness here that seems so contrived, a sort of bubble-gum darkness. I understand the conventions which Nabokov was turning on their heads, but in this case it felt like it was just a lot of cleverness that ended with nothing of much interesting substance for me. I couldn't remember a single great line from that one to make it worthwhile either.


message 34: by Geoff (new)

Geoff | 53 comments So I'm a little over halfway through Boyd's The American Years (and of course it's brilliant and makes me respect N all the more with each page) but what it's also doing is getting me extremely excited to read N's Onegin esp. the commentary, which is the result of ten years time in his own ""scriptorium in the stacks...his paradise of Russian lore" (as was said of Pnin) of the Harvard and Cornell libraries. I know Manny said he read EO, anyone else 'round these parts? Impressions? Apparently the poem itself is rendered in at times purposefully grotesque English, but I am extremely excited for the scholastic depths of the commentary.


message 35: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 27, 2014 09:35PM) (new)

can i say i'm on a completist binge if i've only read four novels so far? lolita, invitation to a beheading, the luzhin defense, the real life of sebastian knight & currently in the midst of bend sinister. but from what i've read so far i definitely intend to read everything he's written--next on the queue is speak, memory.


message 36: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl | 123 comments Depends over what period of time you read them. Six weeks, binge. 30 years, not a binge.


message 37: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Aidan wrote: "can i say i'm on a completist binge if i've only read four novels so far? lolita, invitation to a beheading, the luzhin defense, the real life of sebastian knight & currently in the midst of bend s..."

Binge or sprint. Depends on which Greek House you belong to. Yep. Get on that Nabbokov train....


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

i feel like i'm safely in binge territory--all the titles mentioned above now completed + pale fire, transparent things, laughter in the dark & have just stared the gift. i think i love him


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 57 comments I'll say up front that I'm not going to be a Nabokov completist. While I enjoyed appreciated Pnin, I couldn't finish The Gift. I haven't given up on him.

I don't know if any of you are interested in reading books related to Nabokov, and which might add to your enjoyment of the author. I've come across two books lately that might interest any of you who are.

Vera
The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov


message 40: by Kim (new)

Kim Davis (kim4true) | 2 comments Don't give up on Nabokov until you give Pale Fire a try.


message 41: by Brant (new)


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