Before I begin with my book summary, I’d like to start with a disclaimer.
Rather than just watching this summary, I would highly recommend reading the book discussed
to fully benefit from it.
Unlike most of the other books I’ve reviewed, the greatness of this book comes from ‘how’
it’s written, not just ‘what’ it is written about.
Some of the attention to language and detail is remarkable.
Rather than a traditional autobiography, each chapter is a short story about a period of
Nabokov’s early life, beautifully written and collectively described as a masterpiece
by the literary world.
Born in April 1899 in St Petersburg, Russia, one of Vladimir Nabokov’s first memories
was the war between Russia and Japan.
He had a pleasant childhood growing up in an aristocratic family.
少年时 他接触了许多歌剧表演 马拉雪橇
As a youngster he was exposed to dozens of opera performances, horse drawn sleigh rides
and playing lawn tennis.
He and his younger brother had a series of Russian-speaking tutors for around a decade
Despite being from a Russian family, he learnt to read English before he could read Russian.
He was taught to draw by several teachers, some of whom were celebrated artists.
In 1907 he suffered from pneumonia.
Either side of this severe illness he was a keen lepidopterist, or butterfly and moth
enthusiast as it is otherwise known.
Many of his butterfly captures are now on display in prestigious locations.
For example, every specimen he captured in the USA in later life between 1940 and 1960
is on display at the American Natural History Museum and other similar venues.
他的许多发现以他的名字命名 但同时 他的爱好
Several of his finds have even been named after him but whilst his hobby has given him
great joy in life, it also caused him to be part of some unpleasant situations.
1918年3月 在黑海附近 一名激进分子试图逮捕他
In March 1918 near the Black Sea, a Bolshevik tried to arrest him as he claimed Vladimir
was using his catching net to signal to a nearby British warship.
He travelled a lot in his life – from Prague to Paris, as well as 46 of the states in his
adopted country of the United States of America.
他的父亲也叫做弗拉德米尔 尽管享有大量财富 却是一位自由主义者
His father, also called Vladimir, despite enjoying his great wealth, became a liberal,
他协助发展革命 终究 成为了一个穷人
thus helping to bring on a revolution that would, in the long run, leave him a pauper.
His father studied law at St Petersburg University and later lectured on criminal law.
他精通俄语 英语 德语和法语
He was fluent in Russian, English, German and French.
He married and had six children with his wife.
Prior to becoming a politician he was a soldier.
He moved into politics but after the Tsar dissolved the First Russian Parliament in
他抵制 反抗 这使得他因参与非法会议而经受了
1906 that he was elected into, he resisted and rebelled which led to him serving a three
month prison term for attending an illegal session.
在1919年 他自愿被流放 先是伦敦 再是柏林
In 1919 he went into voluntary exile first in London and then in Berlin, where he founded
and edited a liberal newspaper.
In 1922 at a public lecture in Berlin, he shielded the lecturer, who was an old friend
of his, from two bullets.
暗杀者是俄国法西斯 尽管他击倒了一个 但最终 被另一个给了致命一击
The assassins were Russian fascists and despite knocking one down he was fatally shot by the other.
In the summer of 1914, Vladimir (the author as opposed to his father) wrote his first
poem after watching a storm hit and then quickly pass.
He soon realised that in order to become a successful poet, one must have the capacity
of thinking about several things at a time.
He was convinced after writing it that what he saw in front of him would be seen by others.
His first recital of the poem was greeted with tears of joy from his mother.
Around this time he was involved in a romantic relationship with a young lady and he published
some of the poetry that he wrote for her.
The book received mainly negative reviews and removed any interest he had at the time
of literary fame.
When Lenin took over in Russia, Vladimir’s father moved his whole family to the Crimea,
a region which was still free (for a few weeks longer at least).
His father stayed in St Petersburg and whilst saying goodbye to his son casually added he
may never see them again.
Apart from taking a few jewels with them on their journey, the family were ruined.
They were also insecure.
At the time, even harmless people had weights attached to their feet and were then shot
off a bridge by the Bolsheviks.
When the Bolsheviks were approaching where the family were staying, they jumped on a
ship heading for Constantinople and Piraeus in Greece.
1919年 在希腊经历了几个春天后 弗拉基米尔去了英国
After a couple of spring months in the year 1919 in Greece, Vladimir travelled on to England
– first to London and then to study at Trinity College in Cambridge University, where he
obtained an honours degree.
After graduating in 1922 in England, he went on to live in Germany and France, spending
a total of over two decades in all three countries.
Whilst at university, Vladimir discussed politics with friends and concentrated on literature
again, translating several poems written by other poets from English into Russian.
He began writing novels and by 1928, at this point living in Berlin, they started making
him some money.
He supplemented his income by teaching English and Tennis.
During his twenty years of exile he also composed chess problems.
He devoted a considerable amount of time to this task, some problems taking him months
1940年5月 在贿赂到一本离境签证后 弗拉基米尔携妻儿
In May 1940 after a bribe to gain an exit visa, Vladimir emigrated to America with his
wife and child.
The autobiography finishes there but his achievements didn’t.
His most famous novel, Lolita, was written once he was in America and was adapted to
film by Stanley Kubrick in 1962.
2011年 《时代》周刊将他的传记列入 100部杰出纪实作品之中
In 2011 Time Magazine listed his autobiography among the 100 all-time non-fiction books.
说话，记忆 - 弗拉基米尔·纳博科夫