- NABOKOV, Vladimir
- (1899-1977)Russian-born US novelist, poet, translator and entomologist. Raised in Russia until the Revolution, and then educated at Cambridge, he lived between the wars in Germany and France, emigrated to the USA in 1940 - at which point he began to write in English rather than Russian - andfrom 1959 lived in Switzerland. His first books of poetry date from the teens of the century, his first novel from 1926, though he came to world fame only after the publication, many books later, of Lolita (1955 France). Several of his novels can be read precariously in terms of theirfantasy or sf elements - including Korol', Dama, Valet (1928 Germany; trans Dmitri Nabokov and VN as King, Queen, Knave 1968 US), which features automata; the afterlife fantasy Soglyadatay (1930 France; trans Dmitri Nabokov and VN as The Eye 1965 US); Priglashenie na kasn' (1938 France;trans Dmitri Nabokov and VN as Invitation to a Beheading 1959 US), a fable which ends in a state beyond death; the DYSTOPIA Bend Sinister (1947); and Pale Fire (1962 US), which transforms RURITANIAN manias into deeplyintricate parable. But VN's FABULATIONS tend to an austere self-referentiality, and are not easily pigeonholed. (It has also been suggested that all VN's novels from Pnin (1957) to Transparent Things (1972) contain attempts at communication from dead characters to the living.)Nevertheless Izobretenie Val'sa (1938 France; rev text trans Dmitri Nabokov as The Waltz Invention 1966 US) is a genuine sf play; itseponymous protagonist, having invented a kind of atomic device, demands to rule his country or he will cause apocalypse. Some of the stories assembled in Nabokov's Dozen (coll 1958) as well as "Poseshchenie muzeya (1939; trans as "The Visit to the Museum" 1963) and "The Vane Sisters"(1959), both found in Nabokov's Quartet (coll 1966 US), and "Lance" (1952), found in Nabokov's Congeries (coll 1968 US), are of sf or fantasy interest. Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (1969 US) has likewise been treated as sf, though perhaps not fruitfully. Certainly Ada depicts an ALTERNATE WORLD, whether or not this Anti-Terra has been created byprotagonist Van Veen as a counterpoint to and justification of incest; the book can therefore be read with some interest for its rendering of sf elements, though the novel itself comprises much, much more. However individual texts might be defined, VN was concerned in all his work to shape versions of the creative act. The materials he used were subjunctive to the shaping, not vice versa, as in sf.JC"
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.