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Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was born in St Petersburg in 1899, the elder son of an aristocratic, cultured, politically liberal family. When the Bolsheviks seized power the family left Russia and moved first to London, then to Berlin, where Nabokov rejoined them in 1922, after having completed his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge. Between 1923 and 1940 he published novels, short stories, plays, poems and translations in the Russian language and was recognized as one of the outstanding writers of the emigration. In 1940 he and his wife and son moved to America, where he was a lecturer at Wellesley College from 1941 to 1948. He was then professor of Russian Literature at Cornell University until he retired from teaching in 1959. His first novel written in English, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, was published in 1941 and his best-known novel Lolita brought him world-wide fame. In 1973 he was awarded the American National Medal for Literature. He died in 1977 in Montreux, Switzerland.
As well as numerous short stories, his works include, from the Russian novels, The Luzhin Defence and The Gift; from the English novels, Lolita, Pnin, Pale Fire and Ada; the autobiographical Speak, Memory; translations of Alice in Wonderland into Russian and Eugene Onegin into English; and lectures on literature.
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