How Did Vladimir Nabokov Die – (1899–1977)

Date of Birth April 22, 1899
Date Of Death July 2, 1977
Age 78 Years
Death Cause  Viral Infection

Vladimir Nabokov, also known as Vladimir Sirin, was a renowned writer who lived from April 22, 1899, to July 2, 1977, making him 78 years old at the time of his passing due to a viral infection. Born in Russia, he later became a Russian-American. In addition to being a novelist and poet, he was also a translator and an entomologist. 

Moreover, Nabokov was known for his fluency in multiple languages, including Russian, English, and French. He spent part of his life in the United States and Switzerland. His academic background included a BA in French literature from the University of Cambridge. 

Nabokov’s literary career spanned from 1916 onward, during which he worked as a professor at institutions like Wellesley College and Cornell University. He produced a wide range of literary works, including novels, novellas, short stories, dramas, poetry, translations, autobiography, and non-fiction. 

I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child! (Vladimir Nabokov).

Also, he was associated with literary movements such as modernism and postmodernism. Some of his notable works include “Lolita,” “Pale Fire,” and “Speak, Memory.” He was married to Véra Nabokova and had a son named Dmitri Nabokov.

Early Life & Career Highlights Of Vladimir Nabokov 

Vladimir Nabokov’s early life and career were marked by a remarkable journey that spanned across continents and disciplines. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1899, he was raised in a family of intellectuals and developed a deep passion for literature and languages. After earning his BA in French literature from the University of Cambridge, he began his literary career in Russia. It was, however, his move to the United States in 1945 that would bring him international recognition. 

Nabokov became a U.S. citizen and established himself as a prominent writer and professor, teaching Russian literature at Cornell University from 1948 to 1959. His novel “Lolita” (1955) and the subsequent “Pale Fire” (1962) secured his place in the literary pantheon, both appearing on lists of the greatest 20th-century novels. Notably, his memoir, “Speak, Memory” (1951), is considered one of the finest nonfiction works of the 20th century. Alongside his literary pursuits, 

I think it is all a matter of love: the more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it becomes! (Vladimir Nabokov).

In addition to being a passionate lepidopterist who made substantial contributions to the science of entomology, Nabokov was also a composer of chess compositions. He was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction seven times throughout his lifetime. His plethora of skills and the extensive literary legacy he left behind continue to enthral readers and academics all over the world.

The Unique Personality Of Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov’s multifaceted personality and unique traits provide a captivating glimpse into the man behind the literary genius. As a self-described synesthete, he associated letters with colours, infusing his works with sensory layers. His agnosticism and indifference to organized religion sparked debate, reflecting his unwavering intellectual honesty. Nabokov’s lifelong battle with insomnia, exacerbated by health issues, added a fascinating dimension to his creative process. 

Beyond literature, he was an avid chess enthusiast who composed intricate problems, considering it an art form that demanded originality, invention, conciseness, and complexity. These aspects of Nabokov’s life offer a deeper appreciation of the mind that crafted literary masterpieces like “Lolita” and “Pale Fire.”

Literature was not born the day when a boy crying ‘wolf, wolf’ came running out of the Neanderthal valley with a big grey wolf at his heels; literature was born on the day when a boy came crying ‘wolf, wolf’ came running out of the Neanderthal valley with a big grey wolf at his heels! (Vladimir Nabokov).

His Marriage And Financial Challenges 

Vladimir Nabokov’s romantic life took a significant turn in the early 1920s. Initially engaged to Svetlana Siewert in 1922, the engagement came to an end in 1923 as concerns about his financial stability arose. However, fate had other plans for him. In May 1923, he crossed paths with Véra Evseyevna Slonim, a Russian-Jewish woman, at a charity ball in Berlin. The connection between them was instantaneous, and they chose to spend their lives together. 

Their union, solemnized in April 1925, marked the beginning of a remarkable partnership. Their devotion endured through numerous trials, including financial challenges. In 1936, the mounting anti-Semitic sentiments led to Véra losing her job, and Nabokov, seeking new opportunities, began his quest for employment in the English-speaking world. 

Fiction is another face of reality, and all fiction is autobiographical! This period of uncertainty tested their resilience and brought them closer as they faced adversity together. The couple’s enduring bond not only shaped their personal lives but also left an indelible mark on Nabokov’s literary journey.

I am no friend of probability; I see her as an aseptic witch, a sinless and heartless womanhood in black velvet! (Vladimir Nabokov).

Vladimir Nabokov’s Passing Away 

The breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea! The passing of Vladimir Nabokov in 1977 signalled the conclusion of an era in the world of literature. At the age of 78, he was unable to overcome an infection caused by a virus and passed away at the Palace Hotel suite in Montreux, Switzerland, where he and his wife, Véra, had been residents for nearly two decades. However, the account of his passing is intricately connected to what happened to his last book, which was titled “The Original of Laura.” 

In spite of the fact that Nabokov had requested that it be thrown away after his death, Véra and their son Dmitri made the decision to publish it in 2009. His final hours were spent in the company of his family, and according to Dmitri, he passed away with a “triple moan of descending pitch.” 

He left behind a legacy that continues to attract people all over the world, making his passing story just as mysterious and compelling as his literary works!

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