'You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.' Humbert Humbert, a European intellectual adrift in America, is a middle-aged college professor. Haunted by memories of a lost adolescent love, he falls outrageously (and illegally) in lust with his landlady's twelve-year-old daughter Dolores Haze. Obsessed, he'll do anything, will commit any crime, to possess his Lolita. But once Lolita belongs to Humbert, once he has got what he wants, what next? And what of Lolita? How long is she willing to be possessed?
Biographical noteVladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) was born in St Petersburg. He wrote his first literary works in Russian, but rose to international prominence as a masterly prose stylist for the novels he composed in English, most famously, Lolita. Between 1923 and 1940 he published novels, short stories, plays, poems and translations in the Russian language and established himself as one of the most outstanding Russian émigré writers. Main descriptionVladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire, with its wildly original narrative structure, is a postmodern masterpiece from the author of Lolita, skewering the politics of academia, the struggle for interpretation, and the infinite subjectivity of human experience, published in Penguin Modern Classics. The American poet John Shade is dead; murdered. His last poem, Pale Fire, is put into a book, together with a preface, a lengthy commentary and notes by Shade's editor, Charles Kinbote. Known on campus as the 'Great Beaver', Kinbote is haughty, inquisitive, intolerant, but is he also mad, bad - and even dangerous? As his wildly eccentric annotations slide into the personal and the fantastical, Kinbote reveals perhaps more than he ought. Who is Charles Kinbote - could he be the exiled King Charles of Zembla, or the Russian madman, Professor Botkin? Or is he just another of John Shade's literary inventions? Nabokov's darkly witty, richly inventive masterwork is a suspenseful whodunit, a story of one-upmanship and dubious penmanship, and a glorious literary conundrum. Vladimir Nabokov (1977-1899) was born in St Petersburg, but left Russia when the Bolsheviks seized power. His family moved to England for a brief spell and finally settled in Berlin. His first novel in English was The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, published in 1941. His other books include Ada, Laughter in the Dark, Details of a Sunset and Lolita, his best-known novel. If you enjoyed Pale Fire, you might like Nabokov's Invitation to a Beheading, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'A Jack-in-the-box, a Fabergé gem, a clockwork toy, a chess problem' Mary McCarthy 'Pale Fire must be one of the most brilliant and extraordinary novels ever written, let alone in the twentieth century' William Boyd, author of Any Human Heart
Main descriptionWhen Lolita was first published in 1955 it created a sensation and established Nabokov as one of the most original prose writers of the twentieth century. This annotated edition, a revised and considerably expanded version of the 1970 edition, does full justice to the textual riches of Lolita, illuminating the elaborate verbal textures and showing how they contribute to the novel's overall meaning. Alfred Appel, Jr. also provides fresh observations on the novel's artifice, games and verbal patternings and a delightful biographical vignette of Nabokov. The annotations themselves were prepared in consultation with Nabokov while newly identified allusions were confirmed by him during the final years of his life.
With Great Loves, Penguin bring you the most seductive, inspiring and surprising writing on love in all its infinite variety... Alone in his room in a dirty Berlin pension, Ganin reminisces about Mary, his first love. He fantasizes that a fellow lodger's wife, due to arrive the next day, is his long-lost sweetheart and plots how they will run away together, leaving everything else far behind... United by the theme of love, the writings in the Great Loves series span over two thousand years and vastly different worlds. Readers will be introduced to love's endlessly fascinating possibilities and extremities: romantic love, platonic love, erotic love, gay love, virginal love, adulterous love, parental love, filial love, nostalgic love, unrequited love, illicit love, not to mention lost love, twisted and obsessional love...