The New Republic
Nabokov: The Art of the Perverse
June 23, 1958
Vladimir Nabokov is best known, if he is known at all, as one of those ghostly heroes on the out-of-print register, fondly perpetuated by a mute coterie. It is quite in order, this soft pedal. Nabokov has at least two things going against him in this life which later on will make him the foremost retread of the day. He is wildly and liquidly sophisticated, and he writes as well as any man alive. With the publication of Lolita (1955) by a wayward English press in Paris, some fresh irony was laid on the idyll of Nabokov's literary reputation.
A Little Girl Migrates
January 20, 1958
Lolita By Vladimir Nabokov Phaedra; $5.95 Vladimir Nabokov, author of the Russian translation of Alice in Wonderland, has now provided his native literature with another little girl, his own Lolita. This latter accomplishment is not only a victory of art but also a potential victory for criticism, for whenever we are faced with a thing that cannot be measured by the tools we have, we must invent others. Beckett's and Nabokov's rewriting of their own works in their other languages is a very special form of literary work, closely resembling but not identical with translation.
Nabokov’s Love Affairs
June 17, 1957
The second Anchor Review, a pocket-sized magazine-and-reprint journal of high standards, mildly radical leanings and rare appearance, would be something to buy even without its 90-page excerpt from the notorious Lolita. But emasculated as it is, this first American edition of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel is a major literary event, worth all the attention we can spare.
A Saint of the Comic
May 06, 1957
Pnin By Vladimir Nabokov (Doubleday; $3.50) When some of these sketches appeared in The New Yorker, it was clear that an extraordinarily memorable figure had been created, an individual so appealing and telling and plausible that he would not easily be forgotten. And now that we have seen Pnin even more distinctly, his idiosyncracies and above all the charm and the melancholy of his life still more touchingly illuminated, we recognize in him, as in Oblmov or Gregor Samsa, the superb fictional embodiment of a particular yet universal human situation.
Burgess Tells His Story
November 12, 1956
For five years the West has been baffled by the strange flight to Russia of Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess, two officials in the British Foreign Office. Both were in disgrace. Burgess had just been sent back from America after the British Embassy in Washington had been driven nearly mad by his drunken behavior and incompetence. Maclean, son of a puritanical Scotsman who was at one time a Minisiter in a Liberal Government, was under far graver suspicion.
April 28, 1947
Your radio reporter was having a tough time. The weekly sermon, its text presumably based on what's new, fresh or vigorous in radio, threatened to turn into a dull, depressing dissertation. But along came Old Gold cigarettes, Ballantine's ale and Pabst's Blue Ribbon beer. The day, the preachment, the season were saved. For those ate the generous firms which, in my listening area, bring me respectively Red Barber, Mel Allen and Frankie Frisch.It was exactly 1:55 p.m.
Lincoln in 1944
February 14, 1944
There are many reasons why we recall Abraham Lincoln more vividly than we do either Christopher Columbus or George Washington, the other two men for whom public holidays are generally observed. Lincoln was the only one of the three born under the United States flag. As a child of the Middle West he grew up in the most American part of America, and through his veins flowed the blood of ancestors from both Virginia and New England.
Cabbage Soup and Caviar A Treasury of Russian Life and Humor. Edited, with an introduction by John Coumos. New York: Coward- McCann, Inc. yo6 fages. $3.75. A Treasury of Russian Literature. Selected and edited, with a foreword and biographical and critical notes, hy \Bemard Guilbert Guemey. New York: Vanguard Press. 7,072 fages, $3-9S. Some fifty writers are represented in Mr. Cournos' anthology and some thirty in Mr. Guerney's.