Publication Date: October 1996
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Lolita (1955), Nabokov's single most famous work, is one of the most controversial and widely read books of its time. Funny, satiric, poignant, filled with allusions to earlier American writers, it is the "confession" of a middle-aged, sophisticated European emigre's passionate obsession with a 12-year-old American "nymphet", and the story of their wanderings across a late 1940s America of highways and motels. Pnin (1957) is a comic masterpiece about a gentle bald Russian emigre professor in an American college town who is never quite able to master its language, its politics, or its train schedule. Pale Fire (1962) is a tour de force in the form of an ostensibly autobiographical poem by a recently deceased American poet and a critical commentary by an academic who is something other than what he seems. The texts of this volume incorporate Nabokov's penciled corrections in his own copies of his works and correct long-standing errors. They are the most authoritative versions available and have been prepared with the assistance of Dmitri Nabokov, the novelist's son, and Brian Boyd, Nabokov's award-winning biographer, who has also contributed notes and a detailed chronology of the author's life based on new research.