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The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov edited by Dmitri Nabokov

- Abstract

Vladimir Nabokov wrote his first short story in 1921, when he was a twenty-two-yearold Russian émigré student at Cambridge University. Over the next two decades, living first in Berlin and later in Paris, he would produce, in Russian, a total of 55 stories. His first novel, Mary, appeared in 1926, and this longer narrative form soon became his primary vehicle. After his immigration to the United States in 1940, and his switch to English, he would write only ten new stories—though at least three of them are quite remarkable, and their publication in magazines like the New Yorker and the Atlantic Monthly played an important role in establishing his American reputation. After the 1950′s, he wrote no more stories.

It is good to have the complete stories, including thirteen Russian ones never before translated, in a single volume. The collection contains a half-dozen minor masterpieces and many other works that afford pleasures large and small, and some of which also illustrate the characteristic defects of Nabokov’s artistic virtues. Taken together, the stories highlight features of Nabokov’s vision of humanity that are often not kept sufficiently in view by critics of his novels.

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