Despair Background

Despair Background

Despair is Vladimir Nabokov's novel in Russian, first published in the Paris émigré journal "Contemporary notes" in 1934. In 1936, it was published as a book in the publishing house "Petropolis" in Berlin.

Despair is the sixth Russian novel written by Vladimir Nabokov, in which the author again - as before in King, a Queen, a Jack and Camera Obscura - refers to the German material and criminal plot. A middling Berlin merchant conceives and makes a "perfect murder" in order to get insurance, and then writes a novel about it, and, reading it, he discovers with horror a fatal flaw in his cunning plan. As a part of a detective story about the imaginary duality and about "murder as a kind of fine arts", Nabokov in a special way plays the eternal literary themes of genius and evil, true and false talent, crime and punishment, which will subsequently be deployed in the famous Lolita.

The story, enclosed in Despair is interestingly set out - in the first person, with reflections, inconsistent thoughts. In these works we can follow a hero who goes crazy.

Herman, the teller, as though gains clarity and understanding of himself at the end of the book, though he is not able to do anything with it. Perhaps the light touch of madness is explained by the very fact of telling the story by the hero, that hero writes a story from his memory, and our memories are never clear. Completeness and integrity of history doubles the beauty of the work, a crime is committed - the sentence is imposed, everything is clear.

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