Books: Six Masters, Seen By a Seventh

LECTURES ON RUSSIAN LITERATURE by Vladimir Nabokov

edited by Fredson Bowers; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 324 pages; $19.95

Most classroom lectures die with the clanging of a bell. The captive audience departs, some members perhaps carrying away scribbled notes to be puzzled over just before the final exam. The teacher who wants to live any longer than that in student memories had better be unusually vivid, opnionated or brilliant.

Vladimir Nabokov was all three.

Those who heard him at Wellesley and Cornell during the 1940s and '50s had no way of knowing that their emigre instructor would...

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