Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited

By Vladimir Nabokov

Converse, reminiscence, first released in 1951 as Conclusive Evidence after which assiduously revised in 1966, is a chic and wealthy evocation of Nabokov's existence and occasions, whilst it bargains incisive insights into his significant works, together with Lolita, Pnin, Despair, The Gift, The genuine lifetime of Sebastian Knight, and The Defense.

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I had already entered an extravagant part of sentiment and sensuality, that used to be to final approximately ten years. In it from my current tower I see myself as 100 assorted younger males right away, all pursuing one changeful woman in a chain of simultaneous or overlapping amorous affairs, a few pleasant, a few sordid, that ranged from one-night adventures to protracted involvements and dissimulations, with very meager creative effects. not just is the adventure in query, and the shadows of all these captivating women lifeless to me now in recomposing my earlier, however it creates a bothersome defocalization, and irrespective of how I fear the screws of reminiscence, i will not keep in mind the way in which Tamara and that i parted. there's probably one more reason, too, for this blurring: we had parted too time and again earlier than. in the course of that final summer season within the kingdom, we used to half endlessly after every one mystery assembly while, within the fluid blackness of the evening, on that outdated wood bridge among masked moon and misty river, i might kiss her hot, rainy eyelids and rain-chilled face, and instantly after return to her for one more farewell—and then the lengthy, darkish, wobbly uphill trip, my gradual, laboriously pedaling ft attempting to press down the monstrously powerful and resilient darkness that refused to stick less than. I do take into account, in spite of the fact that, with heartbreaking vividness, a undeniable night in the summertime of 1917 while, after a wintry weather of incomprehensible separation, I chanced to satisfy Tamara on a suburban teach. For a couple of minutes among stops, within the vestibule of a rocking and rasping motor vehicle, we stood subsequent to one another, I in a country of excessive embarrassment, of crushing remorse, she eating a bar of chocolate, methodically breaking off small, tough bits of the stuff, and speaking of the place of work the place she labored. On one aspect of the tracks, above bluish bathrooms, the darkish smoke of burning peat was once mingling with the smoldering smash of a tremendous, amber sundown. it may be proved, i believe, by means of released files that Alexander Blok was once even then noting in his diary the very peat smoke I observed, and the wrecked sky. there has been later a interval in my lifestyles whilst i'd have stumbled on this suitable to my final glimpse of Tamara as she became at the steps to appear again at me sooner than descending into the jasmin-scented, cricket-mad nightfall of a small station; yet this present day no alien marginalia can dim the purity of the ache. three whilst, on the finish of the 12 months, Lenin took over, the Bolsheviks instantly subordinated every little thing to the retention of strength, and a regime of bloodshed, focus camps, and hostages entered upon its stupendous profession. on the time many believed you'll struggle Lenin’s gang and store the achievements of the March Revolution. My father, who were elected to the Constituent meeting which, in its initial section, strove to avoid the entrenchment of the Soviets, made up our minds to stay so long as attainable in St. Petersburg yet to ship his huge relations to the Crimea, a sector that was once nonetheless loose (this freedom used to be to final for just a few weeks longer).

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