The Real Life of Sebastian Knight

Front Cover
Penguin Classics, 2012 - Biography as a literary form - 237 pages

Spurred on by admiration for his novelist half-brother and irritation at the biography written about him by Mr Goodman ('his slapdash and very misleading book'), the narrator, V, sets out to record Sebastian Knight's life as he understands it. But buried amid the extensive quoting, digressions, seeming explanations and digs, Sebastian's erratic and troubled persona remains as elusive as ever.

Nabokov's first novel written in English, The Real Life of Sebastian Knightis a nuanced, enigmatic potrayal of the conflict between the real and the unreal, and the futile quest for human truth.

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About the author (2012)

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.

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