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.
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.
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.