Vladimir Nabokov : the American years /
Brian Boyd.
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1991.
xiv, 783 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
069106797X (alk. paper) :
More Details
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1991.
069106797X (alk. paper) :
general note
Continues the author's: Vladimir Nabokov : the Russian years.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [731]-758) and index.
A Look Inside
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Award, NZL, 1992 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1991-07-25:
Nabokov (1899-1977) fled France with his family in 1940, just before German tanks rolled into Paris. In the U.S. he settled into a peripatetic life of permanent impermanence, and much of the first half of this volume is crammed with minutiae on his teaching, writing and lecturing. But Boyd illuminates the contours of Nabokov's mind with sensuous precision, piercing the public persona of a very private man. The Russian emigre watched in bemusement as Lolita --which brought him fame, fortune and creative freedom--underwent a ``process of vulgarization'' in the public imagination. Boyd, senior lecturer at the University of Auckland, offers fresh readings of Pale Fire , Speak Memory , Pnin , Ada , Lolita and the rest of Nabokov's oeuvre. He conveys a keen sense of Nabokov as an artist who embraced life as an inexhaustible surprise and who suspected death to be a release from the self's prison. Ultimately a triumphant and definitive biography, this volume completes the story begun with The Russian Years. Photos. First serial to New York Times Book Review; author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Choice on 1992-02:
Brian Boyd (University of Auckland, NZ) presents the second and final volume of his massive and masterly biography of Valdimir Nabokov. Nabokov's American years are much better documented than those of his early European wanderings, and Boyd's study is still more detailed than his Valdimir Nabokov: The Russian Years (CH, Jan'91). Boyd, who writes with elegant clarity, has synthesized his information into an eminently readable work that is of equal interest to the general Nabokov reader and the scholar. Boyd's command of biographical sources and his scrupulous attention to factual detail render Andres Field's Nabokov: His Life in Part (CH, Oct'77) and VN: The Life and Art of Valdimir Nabokov (3rd ed., 1986) obsolete, although some of Field's critical insights remain useful. Unlike Field, Boyd maintains personal detachment and avoids gratuitous psychological probings. In addition to the source notes, splendid index, and some 50 photographs, this handsomely produced volume contains the bibliography for the entire work. Essential for all libraries.-D. B. Johnson, University of California, Santa Barbara
Appeared in Library Journal on 1991-08:
Boyd concludes his study of the master novelist begun in Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years ( LJ 10/1/90). After the turmoil of the Russian Revolution and the rise of fascism, the latter half of Nabokov's life passes almost uneventfully. The major excitement comes with the publication of Lolita ( LJ 8/38), which brings Nabokov not only fame but also fortune enough to abandon teaching. Eventually the man seems to vanish into his works, which plays to Boyd's considerable gifts as critic. Lolita and Pale Fire ( LJ 5/15/62) receive sharp, illuminating criticism, although Boyd's defense of the virtually impenetrable Ada ( LJ 6/1/69) is more elegant than persuasive. A stimulating work, highly recommended for collections of modern literature. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/91.--Grove Koger, Boise P.L., Id. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review Quotes
"Nabokov has found at last a biographer worthy of him."-- Walter Kendrick, The New York Times Book Review
One of Choice 's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1992
"A munificently detailed biography. . . . [Boyd has] put all readers of Nabokov in his debt."-- David Lodge, The Los Angeles Times Book Review
"[Boyd is] an inspired explicator. . . . In Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years [Nabokov's] life and his art intertwine. They work against each other almost as often as they work with each other, and it takes a biographer as skilled as Brian Boyd to keep track of every fascinating twist and turn."-- Anne Tyler, The Atlantic
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, July 1991
Publishers Weekly, July 1991
Library Journal, August 1991
Booklist, September 1991
Choice, February 1992
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Main Description
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.

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