as much nabokov as you need

Sansom_08_15Ian Sansom at Literary Review:

For all those keen quivering Nabokovians out there with infinitely deep pockets – are there any other kind? – or perhaps with access to a university library, these are undoubtedly the years of plenty. In 2014 alone, even the most casual short-trousered amateur Nabokovterist armed with a basic butterfly net would have been able to catch Maurice Couturier'sNabokov's Eros and the Poetics of Desire, Yuri Leving's Shades of Laura: Vladimir Nabokov's Last Novel, Samuel Schuman's Nabokov's Shakespeare, and the paperback reissues of Gerard de Vries and D Barton Johnson's Nabokov and the Art of Paintingand Vladimir E Alexandrov's Nabokov's Otherworld. Almost forty years after his death there is, it seems, much good Nabokov-hunting still to be had. In a lecture on 'The Art of Literature and Commonsense', collected in his Lectures on Literature – which remains the perfect entry point into the vast, prodigious kingdom of the Great Nabob – Nabokov remarks, 'In a sense, we are all crashing to our death from the top story of our birth … and wondering with an immortal Alice at the patterns of the passing wall. This capacity to wonder at trifles – no matter the imminent peril – these asides of the spirit … are the highest form of consciousness.'

So as we go crashing to our death, let us continue, like Alice, to wonder at trifles. This year has already seen a reprint of Galya Diment's excellent and eccentric Pniniad, an utterly thorough study of the relationship between Nabokov and the much-thwarted Marc Szeftel, his colleague at Cornell and the model for poor Timofey Pnin, hapless 'assistant professor emeritus' in Pnin. And now comes Robert Roper's perfectly usefulNabokov in America.

more here.