FAQ

Where can I get a copy of your 1986 bibliography, Vladimir Nabokov: A Descriptive Bibliography?
It has been out of print for years. I have not seen one for sale for many years. It is very dated—inaccurate and incomplete. If you need information in it badly enough and can’t wait until I release the new version, your recourses are to find one in a good academic library, or email me and I’ll try to answer your question.

Where can I get a copy of your 1991 update to the bibliography?
It too is out of print. But remember that the information in the updates is, like in the book, very out-of-date, incomplete, and, in some cases, inaccurate.

I hear that you are working on a new edition. Is that so?
Yes. I have been working on it for many years using using new software technologies to make all of the data easily accessible electronically. It uses Cyrillic for Russian and the appropriate orthographies for all the languages in which Nabokov’s works have ever appeared, such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, Arabic, and so on. It has high-resolution color photos. It allows searches and displays results in multiple ways. This includes the ability to see a list of all of Nabokov’s works by, for instance, work type or language or title or (if a poem) by first line, or by date composed.

When will it be available?
I don’t really know. I always say “I hope by the end of the year”. But Nabokov’s oeuvre is very deep and rich and varied (more than two-thousand works and counting) and they have appeared in many languages (at least 44) and places (at least 136 cities) around the world. I can’t release the whole thing until I can map the territory a little bit better. Of course I shouldn’t wait until every last diacritical mark is in place before I publish. So my plan is to continue releasing the bibliography in parts in draft form. I hope then to get feedback from you so that I can incorporate their corrections and additions. Maybe even more importantly, I want to understand your bibliographic needs so that I can present the data in more useful ways.

In what form will you issue it?
At first, I plan to issue drafts on the internet so that anyone can access at least some parts of the database and efficiently find the information he or she needs. Eventually I want to publish the whole thing in the old-fashioned way—between covers. How could I not? We are talking here about books, aren’t we? I’m thinking that the book should pull its own little cart behind it in the form of a CD-ROM, with an included search engine of course, snuggled inside.

  1. Victor Fet’s avatar

    Dear Mr. Juliar:

    I am interested in exact date of the first publication of VN’s “Ania v Strane chudes” (Gamayun 1923).

    Dates of printing listed in your A7.1 file, page 2, are Jan-1923 for variant a, (and 13-May 1923 for var. b.)

    I would like to know the source of information regarding these dates, if possible,especially the January date.

    Brian Boyd (pers. comm.) says the earliest reference he found is an ad in Dni, 25 March 1923, p. 6, where it’s among “Postupili v prodazhu” (Available for sale now).

    Before that, from February 18, p. 10, to March 11, p. 9, Dni has Gamayun ads announcing “Na dnyakh vykhodyat iz pechati” (Expected to be published soon) with Ania in the list.

    Thank you very much!

    Victor Fet,
    Marshall Univrsity,
    West Virginia

    Reply

    1. admin’s avatar

      I’m happy to try to help you out.

      First of all, I can’t comprehend why I gave two separate dates for the publication of the two variants of Ania. I think I was inconsistent when copying the information from my 1986 bibliography (23-May-1923 for both variants) to my current database. I changed the May date to January in one variant but not the other.

      In any case, the dates. I quickly scanned my notes and found a mention of the first ad I had come across that said Ania was available, in the 23-May-1923 issue of Rul’, #744, p.14. So, that’s where the May date comes from.

      The January date comes from Brian. In the Nabokovian, #10, Spring-1983, p. 34, he says that “Novaya russkaya kniga shows that Ania v strane chudes had appeared by January 1923, not May.”

      Of course you can ask why, based on the 1983 information, I half-changed May to January in my current database, but not in my 1986 bibliography. I simply don’t know.

      I don’t think that I’ve ever had access to copies or microfilms of Dni.

      Is it possible that Brian has amended his 1983 statement for January 1923 publication and now finds Dni more accurate?

      In any case, please let me know what you discover so that I can update my database.

      Reply

    2. Michel Tavir’s avatar

      Hello,

      I am finding myself in the following quandary:

      A few years ago I read Nabokov’s “Chambre obscure” in French (Grasset, 1983/1986), a translation that apparently dates back to 1934. At the time, incidentally, I wasn’t aware that someone that doesn’t understand Russian is much better off reading his Russian novels in English.

      In Nabokov’s own foreword to “Glory” (Penguin Books, 1971/1974), I find “Kamera obscura, 1933 (Laughter in the Dark, 1938)” among his novels translated into English. As it turns out, I have just purchased “Laughter in the Dark” (Penguin Books, 1961/1963), and while I haven’t started reading it yet, it only took me a couple of minutes to realise that the two books have nothing in common whatsoever.

      Might you be able to explain this strange discrepancy?

      Thank you and best regards,

      Reply

      1. admin’s avatar

        A little history: Nabokov’s sixth novel was written in Russian and first published as a book at the end of 1933. Doussia Ergaz’s French translation from the Russian original was published as Chambre obscure in 1934. Winifred Roy’s English translation was published in 1936 as Camera Obscura. And Nabokov’s own English translation was published in 1938 as Laughter in the Dark. Nabokov’s translation has many differences from the 1936 English translation and from its 1933 Russian source, including the names of the characters. All further editions of the novel published in English, whether in America or England, are reprintings of the text of the 1938 translation.
        So, read on in your new copy of Laughter in the Dark. You’ll soon see that it is essentially the same book you read in French. Incidentally, Christine Bouvart’s 1991 French translation, Rire dans la nuit, is based on Nabokov’s English translation.

        Reply

        1. Michel Tavir’s avatar

          Thanks a lot!

          Reply

        2. David Cody’s avatar

          “Signed” VN books “inscribed” to Martin and Diana
          are currently (8/18/17) on sale on Ebay . . . .

          Reply

          1. admin’s avatar

            Thanks for pointing them out. Yes, two dealers are offering six allegedly signed/inscribed/lepidopterized Nabokovs on eBay. I’ve written about fraudulent copies inscribed for “Martin and Diana” before. See my postings of 16, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 27 April 2016. Also, one of the sellers has attached a supposed letter of provenance for the three paperbacks. That letter is as dubious as the sorry lots themselves.

            Reply

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