Vladimir Nabokov

Ada Headnote

Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (1969)


Annotations and Headnote by Brian Boyd, University of Auckland, b.boyd@auckland.ac.nz


Written 1965-October 1968, mostly in Montreux, Swtizerland, published New York: McGraw-Hill, and London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1969. Corrected edition, New York: Vintage, 1990, is in print, preserves the page layout of the first US and UK editions, and introduces changes noted by the Nabokov family and Brian Boyd.


AdaOnline: Full Annotations so far

Brian Boyd’s Annotations to ADA were published in the Nabokovian, an instalment to another chapter every six months (except for a couple of instalments of annotations to particularly long chapters that had to be split into two parts) from Spring 1993, number 30, until the journal’s cessation in Spring/Fall 2015, number 74.


After two years the print annotations were incorporated into AdaOnline, hyperlinked to the text of the novel itself, and to motifs and illustrations.


These full notes to the novel, with links and images, are available on AdaOnline from Part 1 Chapter 1 to Part 2 Chapter 9, along with, for each chapter, a short Forenote (on the role the chapter plays in Nabokov’s strategy for a first-time reader) and a long Afternote (on the role the chapter can play for an expert rereader). There is an Introduction to AdaOnline, under the Text tab, at the head of the top left frame of the website.


New Chapter Instalments

Annotations (and the Forenote and Afternote) to the next chapters (Part 2 Chapter 10, Part 2 Chapter 11) are available here and here, respectively. Another instalment to a new chapter will be added three times a year, in April, August and December. After eight months exclusively on the Nabokovian, each new instalment will then be integrated into ADAonline with hyperlinks and images,


Annotations to the later chapters of the novel

A light set of annotations to the remaining chapters (Pt 3 Ch 1- Pt 5 Ch 6) appears here. The notes are keyed to the Vintage 1990 edition, whose pagination and lineation are the same as that of the first US (McGraw-Hill) and UK (Weidenfeld and Nicolson) editions, 1969, and of the text of Ada on ADAonline (if you have another print edition, the ADAonline text can orient you in your version). References to Darkbloom here are to Nabokov’s “Notes to Ada by Vivian Darkbloom,” first appended to Ada in the Penguin 1970 edition and included also on the Vintage 1990 edition.


Ada Timeline

Dieter E. Zimmer's copious Timeline of Ada from 1699 to 1969 is available here.


Ada's Geography

Dieter E. Zimmer's discussion of Ada's geography and gazetteer of the novel's places from Aardvark to Zembre is available here.