Insomniac Dreams: Experiments with Time by Vladimir Nabokov


Product Details

$24.95  $22.95
Princeton University Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 0.9 X 8.3 inches | 1.0 pounds
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About the Author

Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1899. After studying French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, he launched his literary career in Berlin and Paris, writing innovative fiction, verse, and drama in his native Russian. In 1940 he moved to America, where he wrote some of his greatest works, including Lolita (1955), Pnin (1957), and Pale Fire (1962). He died in Switzerland in 1977. Gennady Barabtarlo (1949-2019) was professor of literature at the University of Missouri and the author of a number of books on Nabokov. Barabtarlo also translated into Russian three of Nabokov's novels and all of his English-language short stories.


"[D]ream notes are at the heart of Insomniac Dreams, and are surrounded by helpful and intriguing background material."---Michael Wood, New York Review of Books
"Utterly fascinating."---William Boyd, The Guardian
"This is a celebratory enterprise, an ideal present for readers who are already fans. . . . Barabtarlo has a masterly command of Nabokov's life and work."---Eric Naiman, Times Literary Supplement
"Nabokov's actual accounts of his dreams . . . are fantastic, and show in raw form the wit, facility, and inherent discipline of language easily recognizable as Nabokov's handiwork. The author's fans will be fascinated by the obsessions, fears, preoccupations, and minutiae revealed without filter or guard. . . . The note cards alone . . . will fortify Nabokov scholars for years to come."--Publishers Weekly
"Handsomely designed . . . [t]his is a looping, chronologically complicated book full of the kind of sleep-deprived, iridescently edged complexity that likes to gather around Vladimir Nabokov's work."---Nicholson Baker, New Republic
"[T]he volume's foray into the subconscious is a suggestive . . . addition to the canon of Nabokoviana.""---Francisco Unger, Essays in Criticism
"For the casual reader drawn to big ideas, Insomniac Dreams can be as challenging as trying to reconstruct a dinosaur skeleton from a few simple bones. But it's a fascinating read for all the questions it raises--some of which the world's best minds have been tackling for centuries."---James Plath, PopMatters
"Insomniac Dreams voices [Nabokov's] ongoing translation, rereading and appraisal of his past selves during his lifetime, as well as his assured awareness of the reader's voracious desire to sift through the detritus of his words and thoughts."---Melissa Purkiss, Oxonian Review
"Who needs fantasy fiction when you can plunge through the trapdoor in Nabokov's pillow into his lucid dreamworlds, with Gennady Barabtarlo as sage companion and guide?"--Brian Boyd, author of Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years and Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years
"Nabokov's amazing records of his dreams are priceless, and their publication will create a much-deserved critical buzz. They show Nabokov at his most vulnerable, raw, and genuine, giving us rare glimpses into his past, his feelings about his parents, his relationship with his wife and son, and his anxieties and hopes. This is a very important book."--Galya Diment, University of Washington
"Nabokov's notes about his dream experiment offer a private, unguarded view into his inner life during the rich autumn of his genius. By revealing a new facet of Nabokov's fascination with the nature of time and the otherworld, they show his remarkable openness to radical ways of thinking. Gennady Barabtarlo's masterful analysis of Nabokov's notes does full justice to this important contribution to the study of one of the twentieth century's most important writers."--Dana Dragunoiu, Carleton University
"A meditation on the ways our dreams unmoor us--from ourselves, from one another, from the most basic sense of duration."---Dan Piepenbring, The New Yorker
"One of The Guardian's Best Books of 2017"