Nabokov Reads Nabokov


Click photo to hear Vladimir Nabokov read Lolita, Part Two, Chapter 35.

Nabokov’s bravura reading of this chapter is not to be missed (Spoken Arts LP 902; Side Two includes seven poems, one in Russian). The recording is especially recommended for classroom use. The nuances of Nabokov’s accent – Cambridge by way of old St. Petersburg, the French in perfect pitch – are a striking aural equivalent to the theme of exile in his work and the international nature of that art; and the gusto of his reading communicates vividly a sense of the man, as well as underscoring the comic tone of the novel. Sad experience has suggested that the latter is not always sufficiently appreciated by solemn students who, though they learn quickly, are often not ready enough to laugh at a novel supposedly about perversion.

Alfred Appel, Jr.
The Annotated Lolita (1970)

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