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The Enchanter [Hardcover]

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A novella written in Russian when Nabokov lived in Paris in 1939, The Enchanter resurfaced among his papers 20 years later. Nabokov described it then as "the first little throb of Lolita " and said its title anticipated the "enchanted hunter" motif in the later novel. Here it refers to the lecherous, ironic, middle-aged protagonist who woos an unappetizing widow to get access to her nymphet daughter. But his phallic "magic wand" (paralleled by his antique coral-headed walking stick) transforms wolfish lust into the dream of a fairy idyll, with overtones of Lear/Cordelia and Little Red Riding Hood, to produce an unexpectedly surreal effectand a denouement strikingly different from that of Lolita. Narrated in the third person, the novella has the remoteness of a tale, with its nameless characters and vaguely foreign ambienceunlike the novelistically specific Lolita, rooted in Americanness and told by its main character, Humbert Humbert. The Enchanter is entertaining independent of its Lolita connection. It is arch, delicious and beautifully written. As translator, the author's son writes an endearingly fussy afterword thatrecalls Nabokov's own self-parodying penchant for the long footnote.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The Enchanter is a real findthe "pre- Lolita novella" Nabokov wrote in Paris in 1939 and subsequently lost. Rediscovered two decades later, it has only now been translated by the author's son. Just as in the later masterpiece, a pedophile marries a widow to be near her daughter; when the mother dies, the way is clear. Yet The Enchanter stands on its own as a bright, brief (some would say heartless) excursion into the mind of a madman, a marvel of potent imagery and taut storytelling. More's the pity then that Dmitri Nabokov has used the occasion to write an off-putting afterword aimed as much at settling literary scores as elucidating the text. Otherwise, highly recommended. Grove Koger, Boise P.L., Id.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." -- John Updike "Masterly ... brilliant." -- V. S. Pritchett, The New York Review of Books "A gem to be appreciated by any admirer of the most graceful and provocative literary craftsman." -- Chicago Tribune "One of the best books of the year ... [The Enchanter] displays the supple clarity of a master." -- Boston Globe "Enchanting ... sleekly wrought." -- Newsweek --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." -- John Updike

"Masterly ... brilliant." -- V. S. Pritchett, The New York Review of Books

"A gem to be appreciated by any admirer of the most graceful and provocative literary craftsman." -- Chicago Tribune

"One of the best books of the year ... [The Enchanter] displays the supple clarity of a master." -- Boston Globe

"Enchanting ... sleekly wrought." -- Newsweek --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

One of the twentieth century’s master prose stylists, Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg in 1899. He studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, where he launched a brilliant literary career. In 1940 he moved to the United States, and achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic and translator. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. In 1961 he moved to Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1977. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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