Known for movies

Short Info

DiedJuly 2, 1977, Montreux, Switzerland
SpouseVéra Nabokov
FactMentioned in the song 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' by 'The Police'.

Vladimir Nabokov was born on April 23, 1899, in St. Petersburg, Russia. His father, Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov, was a prominent lawyer and his mother, Elena Ivanovna Nabokova, was a wealthy socialite. Nabokov had two older brothers, Sergey and Kirill. He was educated at home by tutors and his parents were very strict with him. Nabokov was an excellent student and he excelled in languages, literature, and music. He attended the elite St. Petersburg Lyceum and then the University of St. Petersburg, where he studied French and Russian literature.

Nabokov’s literary career began in the 1920s, when he published several poems and stories in Russian journals. He also wrote plays and worked as a journalist. In 1925, Nabokov married Vera Slonim, a Jewish woman from a wealthy family. The couple had a son, Dmitri, in 1934.

In 1940, Nabokov and his family immigrated to the United States. He taught Russian and comparative literature at Wellesley College and Cornell University. Nabokov’s first novel in English, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, was published in 1941. His most famous work, Lolita, was published in 1955.

Nabokov was a prolific writer and he also wrote several works of non-fiction, including an autobiography and a book on lepidopterology. He died of heart failure on July 2, 1977, in Montreux, Switzerland.

Nabokov was a highly respected writer during his lifetime and his works have been translated into many languages. Lolita is considered to be one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. Nabokov’s net worth at the time of his death was estimated to be $5 million.

General Info

DiedJuly 2, 1977, Montreux, Switzerland
ProfessionTeacher, Author, Lepidopterist, Novelist, Screenwriter
EducationTrinity College, Cambridge, University of Cambridge


SpouseVéra Nabokov
ChildrenDmitri Nabokov
ParentsVladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov, Elena Ivanovna Nabokova
SiblingsSergey Nabokov, Kirill Nabokov, Olga Nabokov, Elena Nabokov


AwardsGuggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada
NominationsAcademy Award for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay, National Book Award for Fiction
MoviesThe Luzhin Defence, Maschenka, Despair, King, Queen, Knave, Laughter in the Dark, Lolita, Razor, Der Schmetterlingsjäger - 37 Karteikarten Zu Nabokov

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1For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere connected with other states of being where art - curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy - is the norm. There are not many such books. All the rest are topical trash or what some might call the Literature of Ideas, which very often is topical trash.
2[about criticism of his novel "Lolita"] What bothered me most was the belief that "Lolita" was a criticism of America. I think that's ridiculous. I don't see how anybody could find that in "Lolita". I don't like people who see the book as an erotic phenomenon, either. Even more, I suppose, I don't like people who haven't read "Lolita" and think it is obscene.
3[about the US] It is my country. The intellectual life suits me better there than in any other country in the world. I have more friends there, more kindred souls than anywhere.
4I have never been interested in what is called the literature of social comment (in journalistic and commercial parlance: "great books"). I am not "sincere", I am not "provocative", I am not "satirical" . . . the future of mankind, and so on, leave me completely indifferent.
5Life is a great surprise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.
6The verbal poetic texture of [William Shakespeare] is the greatest the world has known, and is immensely superior to the structure of his plays as plays. With Shakespeare it is the metaphor that is the thing, not the play.
7Every dimension presupposes a medium within which it can act, and if, in the spiral unwinding of things, space warps into something akin to time, and time, in its turn, warps into something akin to thought, then surely another dimension follows - a special Space maybe, not the old one, we trust, unless spirals become vicious circles again.
8Many accepted authors simply do not exist for me. Bertolt Brecht, William Faulkner, Albert Camus, many others, mean absolutely nothing to me. I must fight a suspicion of conspiracy against my brain when I blandly see accepted as 'great literature' by critics and fellow authors Lady Chatterley's copulations or the pretentious nonsense of Mr. Ezra Pound, that total fake.
9[in "Speak Memory", his autobiography] But in England, at least in the England of my youth, the national dread of showing off and a too grim preoccupation with solid teamwork were not conducive to the development of the goalkeeper's art.


1Mentioned in the song 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' by 'The Police'.
2Taught at Harvard University during the 1940s.
3Donated his massive collections of rare butterflies to Harvard University and to Zoology Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
4His father, a Russian diplomat who participated in the 1917 revolution but was not a Communist, was assassinated in Berlin in 1922 by a Russian fascist.
5Father of Dimitri Nabokov. Cousin to Nicolas Nabokov.
6He was born under the Julian calendar on April 10, 1899. At the time this would have been April 22 by the Gregorian calendar, and this is often quoted as his birthday. But Russia remained on the Julian calendar until 1918, by which time the Gregorian date equivalent to April 10 had shifted to April 23 -- the date that Nabokov actually celebrated. Nabokov was pleased that this change allowed him to share a birthday with William Shakespeare.



Despair2014Short novel
Symbols and Signs2013Short
Nabokov, Mashenka2001TV Movie novel Mary - uncredited
The Luzhin Defence2000novel "Zashchita Luzhina"
A Nursery Tale1999Short story
Lurjus1999short story "Podlets"
Lolita1997novel "Lolita"
Mademoiselle O1994TV Movie short story
Mashenka1991TV Movie novel
Maschenka1987novel "Mashen'ka"
Laughter in the Dark1986novel
Despair1978novel "Otchayaniye"
Einladung zur Enthauptung1973TV Movie novel "Priglasheniye na kazn'"
King, Queen, Knave1972novel "Korol', dama, valet"
Das Bastardzeichen1970TV Movie novel
Laughter in the Dark1969novel
Lolita1962novel "Lolita" / screenplay


Shakhmatnaya goryachka1925ShortCameo (uncredited)


Lolita1997writer: "My Carmen"


Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise2006TV Movie excerpt from "Pale Fire" by arrangement with the estate


The Key to Annabel Lee2011Short special thanks


Apostrophes1975TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

Omnibus1971TV Series documentaryHimself


Nominated Awards

1963OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another MediumLolita (1962)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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