Speak, memory said Vladimir Nabokov And immediately there came flooding back to him a host of enchanting recollections of his comfortable childhood and adolescence, of his rich, liberal minded father, his beautiful mother, an army of relations and family hangers on and of grand old houses in St Petersburg and the surrounding countryside in pre revolutionary Russia Yo Speak, memory said Vladimir Nabokov And immediately there came flooding back to him a host of enchanting recollections of his comfortable childhood and adolescence, of his rich, liberal minded father, his beautiful mother, an army of relations and family hangers on and of grand old houses in St Petersburg and the surrounding countryside in pre revolutionary Russia Young love, butterflies, tutors and a multitude of other themes thread together to weave an autobiography which is itself a work of art This Penguin Modern Classic edition contains an appendix, Chapter sixteen , a pseudo review written by Nabokov in 1950 but only now published for the first time in paperback Speak, Memory was first published in 1951 as Conclusive Evidence and then assiduously revised and republished in 1966 under the title Speak Memory, an Autobiography Revisited.
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Speak Memory Speak memory said Vladimir Nabokov And immediately there came flooding back to him a host of enchanting recollections of his comfortable childhood and adolescence of his rich liberal minded father
Vladimir Nabokov was the Niles Crane of 20th century literature snooty, fastidious, and comically inept at being a normal guy And it s part of his fastidiousness that he would have despised my handy, pop culture analogy Even his ailments had something snobbish about them I mean, synesthesia Who has that And what kind of douche decides that sleep is too plebeian Would it have been so hard to come down with herpes and depression like everyone else Needless to say, Speak, Memory is one of the most [...]
Nabokov is a joker If I hadn t known that already, I d have learned it when I reached the end of Speak, Memory.I d begun my review of the book when I was about half way through reading it, something I often do, preferring to jot down thoughts and impressions as I read in case I ve forgotten the significance of this or that point by the time I ve reached the end Very soon I have a couple of readymade paragraphs and only need to tidy them up here and there, add a suitable opening and closing line, [...]
Finis There are parts of this memoir that I absolutely loved and there are parts, mostly later in the memoir and in Nabokov s life, that I found difficult to embrace as a reader The Everyman s Library Edition I read also has an excellent introduction by Brian Boyd which offers great insights into the book, especially for a reader like me who has no background in Nabokov To outline the task he had set before him, Nabokov writes in his Foreward This re Englishing of a Russian re version of what h [...]
I have often noticed that after I had bestowed on the characters of my novels some treasured item of my past, it would pine away in the artificial world where I had so abruptly placed it Although it lingered on in my mind, its personal warmth, its retrospective appeal had gone and, presently, it became closely identified with my novel than with my former self, where it had seemed to be so safe from the intrusion of the artist.Please disregard the three stars above There is no dark lined silvery [...]
This is, in my opinion, Nabokov s best work The autobiography as a form suits Nabokov perfectly, as his novels are never so much about plot or big ideas, just the intense poetic possibilities of language itself So be forewarned, there is almost no useful information here You may learn a thing or two about pre Revolution Russia, a scrap of detail about his encounters with Joyce in Paris, or some tidbits about butterfly hunting, but really there s nothing to be learned, no story, no clues to why h [...]
I closed the book and put it with tenderness on the shelf It was cold and windy but a sense of security, of summer warmth entered my heart I couldn t stop thinking that a single human recollection, a memory linked to an outwardly meaningless moment, is bigger than the whole world dancing in capricious snowflakes outside my window All the themes that gradually become us, starting in one place and ending up somewhere completely different There are no secrets in life, just hidden truths that lie be [...]
Remember Those EveningsReading tonight, he remembers those evenings, Walking together in the endless estates,Where the sun poured over shining green leaves No hint of shades.Again in this room, with the screen light hiding the night, Look back to those mountains where our walking sticks are hid See him turn to the window, thinking his last Of faraway climes.Now nights come bringing only doubts, and the dead howl Of half formed thoughts, in their windy dwelling Inside his mind, too full of easy q [...]
Disgusting that a somebody could be such an amazing writer And this is a person born in Russia, writing in English The word genius seems to come up a lot when people speak of Nabokov Having read this, I now understand.It took me some time to become used to the way he writes Nabokov often does not seem to care if his point is immediately clear to the reader Some of the gems I found in this book I could just as easily have missed in a quicker read So close attention is rewarded Also recommended is [...]
I confess I do not believe in time I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another Let visitors trip And the highest enjoyment of timelessness in a landscape selected at random is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love A sense of oneness with sun and stone A thrill o [...]
Sometimes a book just happens to you, it finds you, popping up from an exhibition that you almost didn t go to, from a dusty corner of a college library or a tiny book shop The flirting is momentary, you know this is the real thing there is no hesitation You take it home, its love at first sight and ever and ever sight Suddenly all your life so far seem so mundane and banal, a new world of tender mellowness opens you assimilate it, drown and resurrect in it, live its sublimity, you become the bo [...]
One of the greatest literary autobiographies ever a model for how to do it My favourite anecdote when he talks about how cold it was in his student room, he denies the rumour that the water in his toothmug froze solid during the night Just a crisp layer of ice on the top, that he broke with his toothbrush
This is a beautifully evocative memoir, consisting of the personal recollections of Nabakov, recalling his childhood in Imperial Russia Nabakov was born in 1899 to a family who were not only members of the aristocracy, but heavily involved in politics His father was a liberal, who opposed the Tsar and, in fact, as his grandmother wryly pointed out, was working to bring down the way of life which would eventually see him exiled and virtually penniless However, this is certainly not a memoir fille [...]
Da allora in poi, per parecchi anni, finch scrivendo un romanzo non riuscii a liberarmi di quella feconda emozione, ho continuato a equiparare la perdita del mio paese alla perdita del mio a Non ho trattato bene questo libro Sono stato cattivo nei suoi confronti L ho iniziato verso la fine dello scorso anno scolastico, poi l ho ripreso verso la fine di questo e infine oggi l ho concluso un libro meraviglioso, non c dubbio Tuttavia la sua pesantezza lo rende una lettura di nicchia, un pezzo da co [...]
I just prefer his fiction I understand that this is one of the most important autobiographies memoirs ever written, but I fail to see why I admit that Nabokov s poetic prose really shines through, at certain times however, on the whole, I found the narrative voice to be frustrating, pompous, and oppressive.
How wrong Nabokov was in claiming that the music gene had skipped him His prose is nothing if not music.
Many years ago, I had read about half of Lolita before putting it down I don t remember why, since I enjoyed the extremely pleasing sentences at the time Nevertheless, I have not read any Nabokov since then, and everyone seems to be personally insulted by this omission What is it that inspires Nabokov fans to froth at the mouth so violently when it comes to this topic update I have now re read Lolita, and my review can be found here I was promised that this book will let me into the secret So I [...]
Wow This is one of the best memoirs I ve ever read Prior to this, top in my list were Frank McCourt s Angela s Ashes and Harry Bernstein s The Invisible Wall A Love Story That Broke Barriers Vladimir Nabokov s Speak, Memory neither has that sorry circumstance of being a born in dirt poor Irish family nor being a witness to a tragic love story between two people of different religions Rather, the young Nabokov was the eldest child of a rich political couple residing on a big house with lots of se [...]
This book is amazing, not for the story it tells but for how that story is written It consists of essays written and published at different times and places, but it all holds together Each chapter follows the other in basically chronological order Let the author speak for himself For the present final edition of Speak Memory I have not only introduced basic changes and copious additions into the initial English text, but have availed myself of the corrections I made while turning it into Russian [...]
First read the autobiography before he retitled, and somewhat rewrote, it though unless I find my notes to that reading Conclusive Evidence , I shall not know what he rewrote I do have a copy of Speak, Memory on my shelf, fairly innocent of marginalia until now Page numbers from my Vintage edition He began writing in French, on his Swiss French teacher, Madamoiselle O, Chapter 5.She was a large woman who spoke one word of Russian, , which she pronounced, Giddy eh Where It sufficed her for her di [...]
The embedding of minute details from a world forever gone into the plush, exuberant prose of Nabokov is the closest you will come to literature practiced as jewellery, horology or some combination of the two Apart from the stuff I mentioned in the reading updates I d like to bring to the fore, from amongst the embarrassment of riches that is Speak, Memory, the following In speaking about his love for composing fairy chess moves, which he describes as a poethico mathematical endeavor, Nabokov mak [...]
Speak, Mnemosyne Probably one of my favorite autobiographies to date beaten only perhaps by the Education of Henry Adams Realistically, it is 4.56 stars given the narrative gaps most were written as individual pieces for Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker and Harpers The section on butterflies Chapter 6 , his Russian education Chapter 9 , and his portrait of his mother Chapter 2 were absolutely AMAZING Other chapters were just as good, and only a couple were less than what I hoped It is interestin [...]
I could not have asked for a better reading experience.
Ten stars A work of art.
It is a bit disquieting to review an autobiography The reviewer struggles to shake the uncomfortable but not untrue feeling that one is reviewing not only a book, but a being The substance and style both stem from the same soul the content and quality come from the identical individual The temptation is to offer a slight round of applause, a light pat on the back, and then to move on quietly but quickly So I hope I don t damage my relationship with Vlad if I confess a vague but unmistakable disa [...]
Like the ardent lepidopterist he is, Nabokov pins beautiful memories to the page moments in time so saturated with colour and intricacy it s as if the reader was there as witness I loved this book and its old fashioned language, dripping with adjectives and metaphors, wringing so much nuance from small everyday scenes that they appear real than if they were seen in a painting or a film He is a master of the reconstituted moment Speak, Memory paints a picture of the author s privileged life in R [...]
A gift of a book, a beautiful memoir.Whenever I start thinking of my love for a person, I am in the habit of immediately drawing radii from my love from my heart, from the tender nucleus of a personal matter to monstrously remote points of the universe Something impels me to measure the consciousness of my love against such unimaginable and incalculable things as the behavior of nebulae whose very remoteness seems a form of insanity , the dreadful pitfalls of eternity, the unknowledgeable beyond [...]
Speak Memory is the second edition of Nabokov s autobiography, which he initially titled Conclusive Evidence a mundane, banal and academic title for a book of such effervescent poetry Nabokov s original suggestion of Speak Mnemosyne does the poetry of Nabokov s prose justice, however it was deemed unpronounceable and thus unsellable by Nabokov s publishers This little snippet of information in many ways sums up Nabokov s art Nabokov s works deal with the quiddity and innate richness of human ex [...]
Here is Nabokov in full literary flight beautiful sentences, rich insights, poignant moments If I were a cynical person, I d say that Nabokov is at his very best when writing about himself Sorry, I m still recovering from my reading of Bend Sinister Behind the words, however, there persisted in me an intermittent sensation of being slightly repelled by parts of Nabokov s personality It s hard to say exactly what was the cause something about his manner of speaking about the people he was writing [...]
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Probably will be awesome when I get to it I finally got this from the local library via interlibrary loan from something called Washington State Teachers College in Machias, Maine That s WAY down east Defunct now I assume, or under a different name I ll look it up It s U Maine Machias now Anyway never checked out under the pre computer regime Expect some trivia questions This was on my to read list Nice to get to one of those occasionally This book was apparently written before Pale Fire but aft [...]