Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin

Duncan White
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(pronounced with an aspirated ‘P’) is considered the most accessible of the novels Vladimir Nabokov composed in English. First published in 1957, it is a campus novel that concerns the misadventures of Timofey Pavlovich Pnin, a Russian émigré whose struggles with America and its language make him a figure of fun at Waindell, the (fictitious) university were he teaches Russian. For all the light comedy on the surface, this is a deliberately problematic novel with a pathetic undercurrent that explicitly challenges its readers in its denouement. From its publication, though, critics have been divided on the stature of


within Nabokov’s oeuvre, between those who grant it deceptive depth and the status of a major novel, and those who believe it a slight and episodic minor…

2155 words

Citation: White, Duncan. "Pnin". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 January 2007 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2756, accessed 12 June 2024.]

2756 Pnin 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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