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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: Nabokov, Mother, and Lovers

Speak Memory: Nabokov, Mother, and Lovers

The Weave of the Magic Carpet

(p.276) 20. Speak Memory: Nabokov, Mother, and Lovers
Stalking Nabokov

Brain Boyd

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores the theme of love as it relates to girls and women in Vladimir Nabokov's autobiography, Speak, Memory—with special reference to his own mother. In April 1947, Nabokov confided to his friend Edmund Wilson that he was writing a short novel about a man who liked little girls, to be called The Kingdom by the Sea because Humbert sees Lolita, the first time he meets her, as a reincarnation of the girl he loved at thirteen. This chapter examines two of the chapters in Speak, Memory: “First Love,” which prefigures and clearly inspires Lolita, and “Portrait of My Mother,” which reveals Nabokov's reflections about human life as a complex interplay of anticipation and recollection, loss and restoration, incident and repetition, our previsions of future loss and our foreglimpses of later retrospection.

Keywords:   love, Vladimir Nabokov, autobiography, Speak, Memory, girls, mother, life, loss, women

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