Vladimir Nabokov, Bend Sinister

William Norman (University of Kent at Canterbury)
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was the first novel Nabokov wrote after his flight from Europe to the USA in 1941. During his first six years in America he taught Russian literature in several universities, researched butterflies at Harvard, composed the critical biography

Nikolai Gogol

(1944), wrote reviews for

New Republic


The New York Times

, and worked on his novel. Its publication in 1947, five years after he optimistically told his editor “it will be ready for you in three or four months”, was a greeted with relief by its exhausted author.

Bend Sinister

reflects its troubled gestation. On the one hand it is a dystopian novel bearing comparison with Orwell’s

Nineteen Eighty-Four

(1949), and J.D. Beresford and Esmé Wynne-Tyson’s

The Riddle of the Tower

(1944) in its engagement with the totalitarian…

1998 words

Citation: Norman, William. "Bend Sinister". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 June 2006 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6378, accessed 22 June 2024.]

6378 Bend Sinister 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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