Friday, August 07, 2015

Nabokov in America by Robert Roper

In the pantheon of literary giants, Vladimir Nabokov's American sojourn is, as Robert Roper astutely investigates in "Nabokov in America," a vital, yet often overlooked, chapter in the life of the Russian émigré. It was, after all, during his two decades in the United States, commencing in 1940, that Nabokov's pen truly found its audacious stride; this, despite his proclamations of ambivalence toward his adopted nation and its literary offerings.

Roper's biography delves into Nabokov's love-hate entanglement with America, a nation that both inspired and repulsed him. On one hand, he found himself ensnared in commercial vulgarity, but on the other, it was America that inspired his newfound effrontery—a distinctly American brand, if you will. One might argue that this very contradiction is what fueled the genius behind his greatest works.

Moreover, Roper's examination of Nabokov's annual summer pilgrimages to the American West, a ritual adopted while he taught at the esteemed institutions of Wellesley and Cornell, offers an evocative glimpse into the man's passions outside his literary pursuits. Notably, Roper also brings a much-needed sense of justice to Nabokov's relationship with his American agent, Altagracia de Jannelli, a figure previously and unjustly maligned.

Thus, "Nabokov in America" bestows upon us a fresh and intriguing perspective on the inextricable intertwining of Nabokov's life and work with the land of the free—a dance of love, disdain, and inspiration that ultimately fueled the fire of one of the literary world's most daring and brilliant minds.

My Writing Process - the Planning Stages

Using manual processes to write in this digital age might appear odd or anachronistic — perhaps even an affectation. But I don’t care. I us...