looking for advice from nabokov lovers...


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looking for advice from nabokov lovers...

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març 28, 2007, 6:44pm

hey y'all, my department's annual "book auction" is coming up (faculty members sell books they no longer want to us broke grad students, basically)... and this year there is a huge selection of nabokov on the list of available books. i'm a lover of most classic literature, but haven't read any nabokov... so i was wondering if you experts might look at this list and tell me which few you think would be best for a nabokov-virgin?

thanks in advance for any help, and here's the list i've got (sorry about the formatting, it's just a cut-n-paste):

Vladimir Nabokov, Ada.
Vladimir Nabokov, The Defense.
Vladimir Nabokov, The Eye.
Vladimir Nabokov, The Gift.
Vladimir Nabokov, Invitation to a Beheading
Vladimir Nabokov, King, Queen, Knave.
Vladimir Nabokov, Laughter in the Dark.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Don Quixote.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Russian Literature.
Vladimir Nabokov, Nabokov’s Quartet.
Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin.
Vladimir Nabokov, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight.
Vladimir Nabokov, The Song of Igor’s Campaign.
Vladimir Nabokov, Spring in Fialta

març 29, 2007, 6:21pm

Just one man's opinion of those I know, from most desirable down, but not very far down at all. He's good!

Quartet, (if it's his four big novels?)
Sebastian Knight
King, Queen Knave

Lesser interest:
The Eye
Laughter in the Dark

I don't know:
Beheading, or the Lectures, or Igor's Campaign.

And, though I don't know Spring in Fialta, that title in Nabokov's hands conjures absolutely wonderful possibilities, so I would pick it up on impusle as an unknown potentially facinating surprise.

Good luck, shouldering in there :)

Editat: març 30, 2007, 10:38am

I don't think Quartet can be the four big novels Karlus, I can't get a description on Amazon, but it does say that 2 of the four stories had not been published in the U.S.....and that was...um mid 1960's...forget the date.

I'd have to agree with Karlus on the ones to buy, but if you ever see it in the stack, buy Speak, Memory, Nabokov's autobio. It's a gem.

Editat: març 29, 2007, 11:44pm

awesome, thanks you two. i posted the same request in another group, and two people who replied there both said beheading was the best, but they both had pnin second, which is your rec, since that quartet is unknown... who knows? maybe i'll get really lucky, and no one else will be fighting me for them, so i can scoop the whole stack ;)

thanks again for your help!

març 30, 2007, 8:51am

I'd agree with Karlus, philosojerk, although I really enjoyed Laughter in the Dark.

Spring in Fialta is, I believe, a short story in Collected Stories (http://www.librarything.com/work/501995&book=6090297), although I'm being naughty at work and not able to check my copy at the moment.

Good luck in acquiring the whole lot!

març 30, 2007, 10:37am

FYI y'all -- "Spring in Fialta" is in fact listed in The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov p.413. Haven't read it...yet.

març 30, 2007, 2:45pm

Many thanks for the concurrences. Sounds like I have to get on with reading Beheading. But that Spring in Fialta is going to beguile me first.

abr. 11, 2007, 11:20am

All of Nabokov's work will beguile you, Karlus!

Thanks for the confirmation, Cateline; Spring in Fialta is indeed in Stories.... I re-read it t'other eve. Marvellous.

abr. 16, 2007, 12:11am

Don't know if your book sale is still coming up, philosojerk, but Ada, or Ardor is my favorite novel of Nabokov's. (The others I've read are Lolita, Pnin, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight and The Eye) It has the most stunning, gorgeous prose of any of his works I've encountered, and a cast of marvelous characters. Even if you don't get it at the book sale, you should pick it up! Just keep in mind that the first 50 pages are a little bit of a slog, but the plot moves more swiftly thereafter.

abr. 18, 2007, 12:32am

hey, thanks! honestly, i don't know what happened to our department auction. i think it might have gotten lost in the end-of-semester shuffle, but as far as i know, it's still happening (i hope??), and i've still got my eye on those nabakov books.

and if not, now you've all lit a fire under my ass that makes me want to get my hands on some anyway ;)

abr. 18, 2007, 6:33pm

Well philosojerk, please post whatever you come up with and impressions.

I found a copy of Nabokov's Quartet at Abe's
The whole thing is only novella size actually, well maybe longish novella...
Anyhow the names of the four stories are:

"An Affair of Honor"
"The Vane Sisters"
"The Visit to the Museum"

I can't wait to get to them, but am buried at the moment in a stack of promised reading. /sigh/

abr. 20, 2007, 5:37pm

Good to know that, Cateline. Thanks. :)

maig 7, 2007, 11:56am

well as it turned out, they had the auction on a day i couldn't attend. i had told my professor i was interested in the nabokov books, though, and when i went by the department yesterday, my box was overflowing with books! some of them got sold, but i ended up with pnin, invitation to a beheading, king queen knave, sebastian knight, the gift, and the defense. (i also got his lectures on russian literature, but i'm not too much into literary theory - that one will probably go to a used book store). and i've been informed that for this haul, i owe the department... $4.50.

i'll definitely come back and let y'all know what i thought once i've had a chance to read a few of them. thanks again for all the suggestions :)

maig 8, 2007, 9:53pm

Sounds like a wonderful haul! What a thoughtful professor you have.
Let me just say this....don't give the Lectures on Russian Literature book away that fast....let it set a spell. You might change your mind, and they are not that thick on the ground.

Look forward to your impressions. :)

juny 4, 2007, 6:36am

Sorry to be so slow responding, but you have a small gold mine there! You are fortunate to have some of the very best and I really hope you enjoy your reading. And, yes, hang onto "Lectures." Your appreciation for it may grow.