As Vladimir Nabokov mentioned, his life
was divided into four equal periods - Russian, German, American
and Swiss ones.
He was born on April 23, 1899 in St.Petersburg.
Between 1911 and 1916 he was a student at
the Tenishevsky College in St.Petersburg. He began writing
back at school and in 1916 his first poems were published
in 500 copies. In late 1917 the Nabokovs found themselves
in Crimea and left Russia in March 1919.
Vladimir Nabokov entered the Trinity College
of Cambridge University in 1919. When at the college, he majored
in Russian and French literature. Being a student, he wrote
verse penetrated with the feeling of loneliness, very often
depicting his beloved Vyra. As he later marked, "the
true story of my being at an English university was the story
of my travail to hold Russia".
After graduating with honours in 1923, he
moved to Berlin where his father has been editing "Rul'(Rudder)"
newspaper, one of the most known of more than 40 Russian language
periodicals published in Berlin of those days. On January
7, 1920 the first publication of Vladimir Nabokov under the
name of Vl. Sirin appeared on its pages. He sent verse, reviews
and chess problems to "Rul'". The first novel by
Nabokov, "Mashen'ka", was printed by the "Slovo(Word)"
publishers in 1926.
In 1925 he married Vera Slonim, daughter
of a lawyer and timber merchant. In 1934 a son named Dmitry
was born into their family. Both in Berlin and Paris, where
they moved in 1937, the living was made mostly on translating
and teaching English, French and tennis.
Escaping from fascist occupation, the family
moved to the USA in 1940 and in 1945 Nabokov became a US citizen.
He worked for the Museum of Comparative Zoology of Harvard
University in 1942-1948, was a professor at Cornwell University
in 1948-1958 and taught literature at Harvard University in
When living in the USA and later in Switzerland,
Vladimir Nabokov not only created his own writings, both in
English and Russian, but made a great input in introducing
western world to classical Russian literature. He wrote a
book about Nikolai Gogol, translated "Slovo o polku Igoreve"("Oration
on the Prince Igor's regiment") and verse by Aleksandr
Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov and Fiodor Tyutchev into English.
In 1964 his English translation of the Pushkin's novel in
verse "Evgeny Onegin" with detailed commentaries
Vladimir Nabokov died on July 2, 1977 in
Vienna and was buried in Switzerland.