Up for auction at Bonham’s in London on 11 December is a letter of recommendation Nabokov wrote in 1949 in Russian to Sergey Osipovich Yacobson, head of the Slavic department in the Library of Congress. Nabokov was seeking to help his sister-in-law, Sonia Slonim, get a position as a “research analyst”. The auction house’s estimate is $6000–8000, before the 25% premium. It is lot 1039.
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This is the final installment of the final A-item of the drafts of the revised and updated bibliography. The “Complete” in the heading is obviously tentative. Lolitas in their original English and Russian versions gush from the presses of publishers in the English- and Russian-speaking worlds (and in the non-English speaking world as texts for the study of American literature).
The full Lolita / Лолита draft encompasses 83 editions in English and Russian. The most recent installment adds A28.74, a Russian edition from Azbuka that was the first to reinstate a paragraph missing from all previous Russian editions. On that note, I’ve also included some information about the errors and corrections in various English language editions.
Next, D-items — translations by others than Nabokov.
I’ve posted the sixth version of the update to the draft pages of Lolita / Лолита. There are 72 English and Russian editions in this update, published from 1955 through 2006. Of interest are four editions published in Russia, two in English (A28.66 and A28.69), a quasi-finely-bound edition in Russian (A28.67), and a very expensive, finely-bound, limited edition in Russian (A28.72).
I’ve posted the fifth version of the update to the draft pages of Lolita / Лолита. There are 59 English and Russian editions in this version (eventually there will be more than 80), published from 1955 through 2000. Of interest are English language editions published in China (A28.44 and A28.58) and Korea (A28.48), a large print edition (A28.47), and two editions of The Annotated Lolita with corrections (A28.40 and A28.43).
Here’s a new update to the draft pages of Lolita / Лолита. So far there are 37 editions in English and Nabokov’s Russian translation, published from 1955 through 1991. Included this time are the first 15 editions of Nabokov’s Russian translation which were published in Russia (the first one by Izvestia, 1989) and two editions with corrections (Vintage, 1989, and The Annotated Lolita, Vintage, 1991).
I’ve added a new update to the draft pages of Lolita / Лолита. Included are the first nineteen editions in English and Nabokov’s Russian translation, from 1955 through 1987. I’ve added the U.S. and British The Annotated Lolita (with Alfred Appel, Jr.’s supplementary material, corrections, and quotations from Nabokov), two Ardis Russian editions (reproduced from the 1967 Phaedra edition with its errors), and five book club editions.
I’ve updated the new draft pages of Lolita / Лолита to include the first eight editions, from 1955 through 1969. I’ve added the first wrappers editions from Fawcett (US, 1959) and Corgi (Britain, 1961), the long run of paperback printings from Putnam’s/Berkley (US, 1966–1987 and possibly later), and the first edition of Nabokov’s Russian translation, from Phaedra (US, 1967).
And so we reach the end of the A-items, for now, with Lolita / Лолита. There are dozens of editions and hundreds of printings in English and Nabokov’s own translation into Russian. Here I start out with only the first three editions, or A-items: The Paris Olympia Press edition of 1955, the American Putnam edition of 1958, and the British Weidenfeld & Nicolson edition of 1959. I will add more editions next week. Lolita is A28 in the 1986 bibliography.
The pdf of the draft pages is not acting sanely in Firefox and I am working on the problem. It is displaying properly in Safari and Chrome. I don’t know if it behaves in Internet Explorer and other browsers.
I am vacationing on Mt. Desert Island for the next two weeks and won’t be able to post the next draft pages until I return. That next set will be very complex (dozens of editions), very long (hundreds of printings), and very rich (from many countries in the two languages Nabokov wrote and translated it in). For these reasons, I will post A28 Lolita (for it is her of course) in installments over several weeks when I return.
Rounding the turn and moving on to the next set of draft pages for the revised and updated bibliography: Selected Poems, a collection of 89 poems Nabokov wrote, beginning in 1914, in Russian (some translated by Nabokov, some by his son Dmitri) and in English. Edited and introduced by Thomas Karshan, it was published by Knopf in the U.S. and Penguin in Britain in 2012. It did not appear in the 1986 bibliography.