Nabokov begins his Strong Opinions: 'I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.' In the interviews collected here - covering everything from his own burgeoning literary celebrity to Kubrick's Lolita to lepidoptery - he is never casual or off-guard. Instead he insisted on receiving questions in advance and always carefully composed his responses.
Keen to dismiss those who fail to understand his work and happy to butcher those sacred cows of the literary canon he dislikes, Nabokov is much too entertaining to be infuriating, and these interviews, letters and articles are as engaging, challenging and caustic as anything he ever wrote.
Part of a major new series of the works of Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita and Pale Fire, in Penguin Classics.
They broke boundaries and challenged conceptions. We asked you for your must-read classics; from iconic bestsellers to lesser-known gems, these are your essential recommends.
In this essay from his forthcoming collection, There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness, titled ‘Lolita and the Blue Icarus’, Carlo Rovelli writes about Nabokov’s foray into lepidoptery – and his surprising recognition as “a scientist of real worth”.