Nabokov Reads

While serving as lecturer in Russian at Wellesley College (1941-1948), Nabokov worked as a fellow in entomology at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. During this association with the University, Nabokov made his frist recording of original poems and translations, some of which are included here.

In 1952 Nabokov was invited to Harvard by Professor Harry T. Levin and others as a visiting professor. He taught an undergraduate lecture course in the novel and did research on Pushkin in Widener Library. It was during this period that his son Dmitri was an undergraduate at Harvard, and that the Poetry Room recorded both public and studio readings by Nabokov.

In 1959, after the great success of Lolita, the Nabokovs moved to Switzerland, from which Vladimir would return to America only twice before his death in 1977. On one of these occasions, in 1964, he read his work before a capacity audience in Harvard's Sanders Theater, where he had lectured in 1952. Portions of this reading are included here.

This information is drawn from the pamphlet that accompanies Vladimir Nabokov at Harvard, a set of two cassette tapes issued by the Poetry Room at Harvard University in 1988. The sound files made available here are used by permission of the Nabokov Estate.

Dates are dates of recording.

Versions marked "112K" are larger and of better quality; "28.8K" files are smaller and are more suitable for transmission over the Internet if you are using a modem. The RealAudio player is available free from the RealAudio Web site.

1. "The Ballad of Longwood Glen" (1964) [112K] [28.8K]
2. "Exile" (1952) [112K] [28.8K]
3. "A Literary Dinner" (1952) [112K] [28.8K]
4. "The Refrigerator Awakes" (1952) [112K] [28.8K]
5. "A Discovery" (1952) [112K] [28.8K]
6. Prose excerpt from Pale Fire (1964) [112K] [28.8K]
7. "Silentium" (by Fedor Tiutchev, 1946) [112K] [28.8K]
8. "Exegi Monumentum" (by Alexandr Pushkin, 1946) [112K] [28.8K]

Zembla depends on frames for navigation. If you have been referred to this page without the surrounding frame, click here.