Nikolai Gogol

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New Directions Publishing, 1961 - Biography & Autobiography - 172 pages
27 Reviews
This biography begins with Gogol's death and ends with his birth, an inverted structure typical of both Gogol and Nabokov. The biographer proceeds to establish the relationship between Gogol and his novels, especially with regard to "nose-consciousness", a peculiar feature of Russian life and letters, which finds its apotheosis in Gogol's own life and prose. There are more expressions and proverbs concerning the nose in Russian than in any other language in the world. Nabokov's style in this biography is comic, but as always leads to serious issues--in this case, an appreciation of the distinctive "sense of the physical" inherent in Gogol's work. Nabokov describes how Gogol's life and literature mingled, and explains the structure and style of Gogol's prose in terms of the novelist's life.
  

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Review: Nikolai Gogol

User Review  - Meghan Vaziri - Goodreads

I love this book. At the end, Nabokov advises the reader who enjoyed the book to learn Russian, and so that is what I am doing now. I'm auditing a Russian class. It's very intellectually stimulating to actually focus on learning a language again. Read full review

Review: Nikolai Gogol

User Review  - Goodreads

I love this book. At the end, Nabokov advises the reader who enjoyed the book to learn Russian, and so that is what I am doing now. I'm auditing a Russian class. It's very intellectually stimulating to actually focus on learning a language again. Read full review

Contents

HIS DEATH AND HIS YOUTH
1
THE GOVERNMENT SPECTER
35
OUR MR CHICHIKOV
61
THE TEACHER AND GUIDE
114
THE APOTHEOSIS OF A MASK
139
COMMENTARIES
151
CHRONOLOGY
156
INDEX
165
Copyright

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About the author (1961)

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nobokov was born April 22, 1899 in St. Petersburg, Russia to a wealthy family. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge. When he left Russia, he moved to Paris and eventually to the United States in 1940. He taught at Wellesley College and Cornell University. Nobokov is revered as one of the great American novelists of the 20th Century. Before he moved to the United States, he wrote under the pseudonym Vladimir Serin. Among those titles, were Mashenka, his first novel and Invitation to a Beheading. The first book he wrote in English was The Real Life of Sebastian Knight. He is best know for his work Lolita which was made into a movie in 1962. In addition to novels, he also wrote poetry and short stories. He was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction seven times, but never won it. Nabokov died July 2, 1977.

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