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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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A Biographer’s Life

A Biographer’s Life

(p.8) 2. A Biographer’s Life
Stalking Nabokov

Brain Boyd

Columbia University Press

This chapter is the author's speech, delivered after he was awarded the Einhard Prize for Biography on March 17, 2001, in the medieval town of Seligenstadt, Germany. In his speech the author talks about how he became a biographer, first for Vladimir Nabokov and then for Karl Popper. He reflects on the tribulations and trials of researching Nabokov's life, especially in the unwelcoming world of Soviet Russia, and on the difficulties of intellectual biography. According to the author, Nabokov and Popper share a sense of gratitude for a world of inexhaustible discovery and endless surprise, always swimming against the century's prevailing current of fashionable pessimism. Because they were so much at odds with their times, they earned worldwide reputations yet seemed not to be appreciated at the level their work deserved. The author says biography offered him an opportunity to invite the widest possible audience to consider or reconsider the work and lives of Nabokov and Popper.

Keywords:   biography, Einhard Prize for Biography, Germany, Vladimir Nabokov, Karl Popper, Soviet Russia

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