La Vraie Vie De Sebastian Knight Vladimir Nabokov

ISBN: 9782070370818

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La Vraie Vie De Sebastian Knight  by  Vladimir Nabokov

La Vraie Vie De Sebastian Knight by Vladimir Nabokov
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I am very happy that you liked that little book, wrote Vladimir Nabokov to Edmund Wilson in 1941. As I think I told you, I wrote it five years ago, in Paris, on the implement called bidet as a writing desk--because we lived in one room and I hadMoreI am very happy that you liked that little book, wrote Vladimir Nabokov to Edmund Wilson in 1941.

As I think I told you, I wrote it five years ago, in Paris, on the implement called bidet as a writing desk--because we lived in one room and I had to use our small bathroom as a study. The book in question was The Real Life of Sebastian Knight. And despite its humble origins, Nabokovs first novel in English showed him to be in absolute command of his adopted language.

Like many of the authors later triumphs, this one revolves around a question of identity. The late Sebastian Knight, we discover, was a transplanted Russian novelist whose taste for linguistic trickery bears a certain resemblance to Nabokovs. Now his half-brother is attempting to reconstruct the existence of this elusive figure. As he readily admits, the raw material isnt exactly the stuff of melodrama: Sebastians life, though far from being dull, lacked the terrific vigour of his literary style.

But even the most mundane facts prove difficult for the narrator to nail down. He does, on the other hand, describe Sebastians creative processes in exquisite and accurate detail:His struggle with words was usually painful and this for two reasons. One was the common one with writers of his type: the bridging of the abyss lying between expression and thought- the maddening feeling that the right words, the only words are awaiting you on the opposite bank in the misty distance, and the shudderings of the still unclothed thought clamouring for them on this side of the abyss.

Sebastians real life--or anybodys, for that matter--refuses to yield up a verbal equivalent. Still, the narrator manages a kind of fraternal fusion with his subject on the books final page, which suggests a fluid and very Nabokovian view of identity itself. For this reason, and for the splendors of its prose, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is a necessary read.

Its also safe to say that its the very best novel ever written on a bidet. --James Marcus



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