Monday, April 23, 2012

Knock it off, Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov was born on this day in 1899. He died in 1977.

Nabokov's stories were rife with wordplay -- anagrams, puns, allusions, portmanteau words (see Lewis Carroll), coined words, etc.

In Lolita, Nabokov coins the word nymphet to describe the object of Humbert Humbert's lustful love. A character in that novel is named Vivian Darkbloom, an anagram of Vladimir Nabokov. And Humbert recounts a youthful fling of his on the seashore, with a girl named Annabelle Leigh. (See Poe's Annabel Lee.)

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