Despair. Translated from the Russian by the author. NABOKOV, Vladimir NABOKOFF-SIRIN.

Despair. Translated from the Russian by the author.

London, John Long Ltd. 1937. FIRST ENGLISH EDITION. Crown octavo, pp. 287 (+ 24). Elegantly hand-bound in full black oasis morocco leather, spine gilt-lettered in six compartments with raised bands, gilt title stamped to upper cover, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, publisher's original cloth bound in at rear. Internally clean; a fine copy. Internally clean; a fine copy. Nabokov decided to translate "Otchaianie" ["Despair"] himself. To his chagrin, "Despair" fared no better than "Camera Obscura" had, and Nabokov blamed his English publisher, Hutchinson, for releasing his sophisticated works under its pulp fiction imprint, John Long. He later referred to the novel as "something more than an essay on the psychology of crime" but admitted: "[it] turns out to be a half-baked thriller - even when I translate it myself!" In 1965, he overhauled this version, rewriting much of the original text. This revamped version was serialized in Playboy at the end of that year, and won the magazine's annual Best Fiction award, which included a $1,000 cash prize. Item #43316

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