NABOKV-L post 0026610, Mon, 9 Nov 2015 14:09:37 +0000

Re: Brian Boyd rates VN's Greatest...
Dear List:

Is it worthwhile for a kind of free-for all discussion about our own rankings? Brain Boyd is absolutely right to not take such rankings seriously, but it might be fun. I, for example, would rank the short fiction higher and would include Bend Sinister on my 10 Best list. Yes, of course, the hard question would be what to drop to include Bend Sinister.

Eric Hyman
Professor of English
Department of English
Butler 133
Fayetteville State University
1200 Murchison Road
Fayetteville, NC 28301-4252
(910) 672-1901

From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] On Behalf Of Jansy Mello
Sent: Saturday, November 07, 2015 4:15 PM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Brian Boyd rates VN's Greatest...

The 10 Best Vladimir Nabokov Books
By Brian Boyd | Nov 06, 2015
Award-winning Nabokov biographer Brian Boyd wrote an MA thesis that Vladimir Nabokov called "brilliant" and a PhD thesis that Véra Nabokov thought the best thing written about her husband to date. Boyd, editor of Letters to Véra<>, chronicling the decades-long love story between Vladimir and Véra, picks the 10 best Nabokov books.
Vladimir Nabokov's Letters to Véra, edited and translated by Olga Voronina and myself, publishes on November 4 (Knopf). The letters cover a span from 1923, the year the couple met, to 1976, the year before Nabokov died. Véra famously helped Vladimir as first reader, editor, typist, secretary and agent, although not, despite the rumors, as co-author. But Nabokov did once write to her: "I read parts of your little card (about the move-terrible! I can imagine . . . ) out loud to Ilyusha and Zinzin and they said they understood now who writes my books for me." We can see glints and shadows or more of Véra in four of the books on this top ten list, in Pale Fire's Sybil Shade, The Gift's Zina Mertz, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight's Claire Bishop, and Speak, Memory's "you."
Martin Amis is not alone in rating Nabokov the greatest writer of the twentieth century while ranking Ulysses as the century's greatest single novel. The top two novels below, though, have both rated higher than even Ulysses in some published lists. Don't take such orderings too seriously, but do take the books into your life.

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