Books: Early Nabokov

THE REAL LIFE OF SEBASTIAN KNIGHT (205 pp.)—Vladimir Nabokov—New Directions ($3.50).

When fame strikes a writer late, reprints of his earlier works sometimes become exciting discoveries. This is what Boris Pasternak's publishers hope for with his slim, 1934 story The Last Summer (see below); similarly, Vladimir Nabokov's literary handlers hope that The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (1941) will acquire Lolita's gilt by association. The first book Nabokov wrote in English (his workshop was the bathroom of his one-room Paris flat), Sebastian Knight has a low sex quotient and no nymphets. Instead, it...

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