Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
(Penguin Modern Classics)

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A masterpiece of autobiography ought to capture the spirit of a time and place, be memorably well written, and make a reasonable pass at understanding that greatest of all conundrums, its author's own life. On all three counts, "Speak, Memory" qualifies.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

Speak, Memory, first published in 1951 as Conclusive Evidence and then assiduously revised in 1966, is an elegant and rich evocation of Nabokov's life and times, even as it offers incisive insights into his major works, including Lolita, Pnin, Despair, The Gift, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, and The Defense.  


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Vladimir Nabokov

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VLADIMIR NABOKOV studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, writing prolifically in Russian under the pseudonym Sirin. In 1940, he left France for the United States, where he wrote some of his greatest works-Bend Sinister (1947), Lolita (1955), Pnin (1957), and Pale Fire (1962)-and translated his earlier Russian novels into English. He taught at Wellesley, Harvard, and Cornell. He died in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1977. Thomas Karshan is the author of Vladimir Nabokov and the Art of Play and co- translator of Nabokov's The Tragedy of Mister Morn. Previously a research fellow at Christ Church, Oxford, and Queen Mary, University of London, he is now a lecturer in literature at the University of East Anglia. He lives in London and Norwich.
 
Published February 16, 2011 by Vintage. 335 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction
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Reviewed by Joseph Epstein on Jun 13 2014

A masterpiece of autobiography ought to capture the spirit of a time and place, be memorably well written, and make a reasonable pass at understanding that greatest of all conundrums, its author's own life. On all three counts, "Speak, Memory" qualifies.

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