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Stalking Nabokov$
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Brian Boyd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158572

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158572.001.0001

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Speak, Memory: The Life and the Art

Speak, Memory: The Life and the Art

(p.265) 19. Speak, Memory: The Life and the Art
Stalking Nabokov

Brain Boyd

Columbia University Press

This chapter offers a reading of Vladimir Nabokov's autobiography, Speak, Memory, in order to elucidate the artful shaping of his life and shed new light on his mind and art. Nabokov made his own autobiography more a work of art than any other autobiography has ever been, and he left out almost all his adult life. One problem for a biographer of someone who has written such a superlative autobiography as Speak, Memory is to situate one's own effort in relation to the author's “official” version of his life. In the biography Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years, the author tried two different solutions to the problem: interpret Speak, Memory as a work of art and ferret out the things that Nabokov would not want us to see. The author takes as his example the death of Nabokov's father in Speak, Memory and in real life. He also examines how Nabokov transformed the raw facts of his life into the art of Speak, Memory.

Keywords:   art, Vladimir Nabokov, autobiography, Speak, Memory, life, biography, death, father

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