One of the twentieth century's master prose stylists, Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977) was born in St Petersburg, but left Russia when the Bolsheviks seized power. He studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, where he launched a brilliant literary career. In 1940 he moved to the United States, and achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic, and translator. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. In 1961 he moved to Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1977. His first novel in English was The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, published in 1941. His other books include Ada or Ardor (1969), Laughter in the Dark (1933), Pale Fire (1962), the short story collection Details of a Sunset (1976) and Lolita (1955), his best-known novel.
A masterpiece. One of the great works of art of our age * Independent * There's no funnier monster in modern literature than poor, doomed Humbert Humbert. Going to hell in his company would always be worth the ride * Independent * A great novel . . . It widens our own humanity * Guardian * You read Lolita sprawling limply in your chair, ravished, overcome, nodding scandalized assent -- Martin Amis * Observer * Nabokov's command of words, his joy in them, his comic and ecstatic use of them, makes reading his work such an intense joy * Daily Telegraph * Lolita is more the shocking because it is both intensely lyrical and wildly funny ... a Medusa's head with trick paper snakes * Time *