Vladimir Nabokov: Otchaianie [Despair] (2230 words)


The novel Despair (first written in Russian, under the pen name “V. Sirin”, as Otchaianie, in 1932) has a complicated publishing history, even by Nabokov’s standards. Excerpts were published in one émigré journal in 1932-33; a revised version appeared in another (Sovremennye zapiski, Paris) in 1934; and it appeared as a book (Petropolis: Berlin) in 1936. Nabokov then decided to translate the novel himself into English (with, at that stage, a modicum of assistance) and it was published in London (by John Long, a popular fiction imprint of Hutchinson) in 1937. Almost the entire stock was destroyed when a German war bomb hit the warehouse. Getting on for three decades later, Nabokov decided to revise …

Citation: Cornwell, Neil. "Otchaianie". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 November 2008 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=3006, accessed 05 March 2021.]

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