Bend Sinister

Bend Sinister, Nabokov's eleventh novel, Holt, 1947; reprinted with a new introduction by the author, Time-Life, 1981. (Bend Sinister can be found in many public libraries and is available online from Amazon.com and from Barnes & Noble. Also published as a Penguin Classic by Penguin UK.)

'And now the answer,' he said.
'Which you owe me,' said Krug. 'First of all I wish to know why you had those four friends of mine arrested. Was it to make a vacuum around me? To leave me shivering in a void?'
'The State is your only true friend.'

Krug, a philosopher in an unnamed European country, rejects the political regime of a recent Revolution led by his childhood classmate, Paduk. Paduk's political doctrine, Ekwilism, is vague and confused, but is clearly designed to promote conformity and deconstruct individuality. Krug's resistance to Paduk's requests that he publicly support the State creates the novel's dramatic impetus. Braided, somehow, into all layers of the novel, is one Wm. Shakespeare, whose works, words, and worlds inform, question, and comment upon the action.

"Similarly, the influence of my epoch on my present book is as negligible as the influence of my books, or at least of this book, on my epoch."
Nabokov, from his introduction

'The story of the free man under the totalitarian state is still the classic tragedy of our age, and in 'Bend Sinister' it is given striking and original treatment, at once impressive, powerful and oddly exasperating.'
Richard Watts, Jr.

'Nabokov has mastered every kind of virtuosity that has been developed in this century.'
Nathan L. Rothman

Scholarly Criticism of Bend Sinister:

Begnal, Michael H. "Adam Krug's Parrot"
Raguet-Bouvart, Christine. "Ember, Translator of Hamlet"
A Bibliography of Critical Works on Bend Sinister
Information about the film adaptation of Bend Sinister

WORKS

MARY | KING, QUEEN, KNAVE | THE DEFENSE
GLORY | LAUGHTER IN THE DARK | DESPAIR
THE GIFT | INVITATION TO A BEHEADING | THE EYE
THE ENCHANTER | THE REAL LIFE OF SEBASTIAN KNIGHT
BEND SINISTER | LOLITA | PNIN | PALE FIRE
ADA | TRANSPARENT THINGS | LOOK AT THE HARLEQUINS!
THE ORIGINAL OF LAURA


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