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Born on 22 April 1899, Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov is considered one of the most ingenious authors of the 20th century. The Russian-born American novelist is widely known for his originality and experimental style as a writer ahead of his time.
See the fact file below for more information on the Vladimir Nabokov or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Vladimir Nabokov worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Nabokov was born into a rich family in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was the eldest of five children.
- His father, Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov was a prominent lawyer, journalist, and politician. His mother, Helene Rukavishnikov Nabokov, came from a noble and wealthy family of Russian descent.
- Nabokov had a neurological condition called synesthesia where one sensory experience involuntarily leads to another. He discovered this at an early age when he associated letters of the alphabet with colors. His mother and son were also synesthetes.
- Nabokov lived in different countries throughout his life. At the height of the Russian revolution in 1917, his family migrated to Crimea and was not able to go back to Russia. They also spent some years living in Germany, France, and the USA.
- Following his family to Berlin in 1922, Nabokov met Véra Evseyevna Slonim, a Jewish Russian woman who he eventually married in 1925. The couple had a son named Dmitri in 1934, who later became an opera singer.
- His last home was in Switzerland, where he died on July 2, 1977.
EDUCATION AND WORK
- At an early age, Vladimir learned to read in English before Russian, in addition to French.
- He also studied languages, mathematics, puzzles and games, including chess, soccer, and boxing.
- At eleven, he attended Prince Tenishev School in St. Petersburg.
- At thirteen, he started writing poems and even published his first book of poetry in 1914.
- When his family moved to England, Nabokov studied at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1919 through a scholarship provided for sons of prominent Russians in exile.
- He began a degree in Zoology, but eventually shifted to French and Russian Literature. He graduated with first-class honors in 1922.
- Nabokov became a de facto curator of lepidoptery at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.
- He also worked at Wellesley College as a resident lecturer in comparative literature, and at Cornell University, teaching Russian and European Literature.
- He also became an entomologist due to his passion for collecting butterflies. His collection comprised 4,000 types of butterflies, 20 of which were his discoveries. He even published a number of studies on butterflies.
- As a writer, Nabokov was very experimental. He explored various forms of novel composition that carried a unique element of intrigue and humor, containing literary allusions, deceiving word games, and bizarre incidents.
- He also loved using complex but original plots, for which he received immense praise.
- Under the name V. Sirin, he began writing stories, essays, and poems which he sold to Russian-language newspapers in Berlin and Paris.
- The scandalous novel Lolita (1955), the first of its kind, became an American classic, diminished by certain critics and praised by others. It is a story of a middle-aged literature professor, Humbert Humbert, who becomes obsessed and shares a sexual affection with a twelve-year-old schoolgirl named Dolores Haze, who he nicknames Lolita.
- Although US libraries banned the novel after its American release in 1958, Lolita established Nabokov as one of the greatest writers of his time. The novel was even adapted into a film by Stanley Kubrick in 1962 and by Adrian Lyne in 1997, along with stage adaptations, including an opera, two ballets, and a Broadway musical.
- Before leaving Russia in 1919, he published two collections of verse, Poems (1916) and Two Paths (1918).
- In 1923, he also published two collections of his Russian poetry, The Cluster and The Empyrean Path.
- He likewise published an autobiography titled Speak, Memory (revised version, 1967) that reflected his deep affection for his father.
- After his death in 1977, Nabokov’s five-act play written in 1923-24, Tragediya Gospodina Morna (The Tragedy of Mr. Morn), was published in a Russian literary journal and a standalone volume in 2008.
- His other notable works include Mashenka (or Mary, 1926), King, Queen, Knave (1928), The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (1941), Bend Sinister (1947), Pnin (1957), Pale Fire (1962), Ada (1969), Ardor: A Family Chronicle (1969), Transparent Things (1972), and Look at the Harlequins! (1974).
- Furthermore, he translated famous works into Russian such as Alice in Wonderland, A Hero of Our Time (a novel by Lermontov), Eugene Onegin (a monumental work by Pushkin), and a 15th-century Russian epic The Tale of Igor’s Campaign.
Vladimir Nabokov Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Vladimir Nabokov across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Vladimir Nabokov worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov who is considered one of the most ingenious authors of the 20th century. The Russian-born American novelist is widely known for his originality and experimental style as a writer ahead of his time.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Vladimir Nabokov Facts
- Vladimir: Personal Life
- Vladimir: Writing Career
- Vladimir Nabokov Timeline
- Vladimir’s Influences
- My Top Three (3)
- Letters to Vera
- Selected Quotations
- Vladimir Nabokov’s Legacy
- In a Nutshell
- In My Own Words
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Use With Any Curriculum
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