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Gift, The

The Gift, Dar, émigré

nabokov russian life chapter

a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, published in 1938. Generally considered the greatest of Nabokov's Russian works, The Gift was published as Dar in Paris (19378) under Nabokov's pseudonym of V. Sirin, though this edition lacked the fourth chapter which was not restored until the New York publication (again in Russian) in 1952; the English translation appeared in 1963. The novel explores one of Nabokov's great thematic preoccupations, the life of the émigré intellectual and writer (one that he himself lived), through the story of the poet and critic Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev over three years of his life in Berlin in the 1920s. Each of the five long chapters enlarges the narrator's story while at the same time exploring what are, for Nabokov, important aspects of the Russian cultural and literary tradition. The second chapter is famous for its interweaving of details of the life of Fyodor's father with a biographical and critical account of the works of Alexander Pushkin. The fourth chapter, deleted from the first French edition, concerns the nineteenth-century social critic Nikolai Chernyshevsky and is reputed to have caused much offence to those Russian émigré writers and intellectuals who had read it.

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