Sunday, April 10, 2016

Shakespeare and Nabokov – Happy Birthday April 23!

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William Shakespeare (1654-1616) is, of course, generally accepted as the greatest writer in English (and several other languages; his works have been translated into over 80). 

Vladimir Nabokov is regarded by some—including yours truly—to be the greatest writer of English of the past century. They share the birth anniversary of April 23, so, what the hell, let’s celebrate them together. 

Image result for shakespeare nabokov
Image result for shakespeare nabokov

It’s unfortunate that Shakespeare probably seems to very many to be a difficult assignment from school rather than a profound and entertaining artist. The antique language can be daunting, but, especially when seen on stage or film, he still resonates and entertains. The ACCLibrary has many DVDs of his plays and also gets a video streaming database, Films on Demand, that has many Shakespeare plays you can watch on any internet device whenever you want.

Vladimir Nabokov, born in Russia in 1899, grew up speaking and writing Russian, English, and French. His aristocratic family fled the Communist revolution and he ended up a poor immigrant in Berlin, writing novels at night and giving tennis lessons by day. He published 10 novels in Russian before switching to English and writing 8 more. To be a top-notch novelist in two languages is a remarkable feat not equaled by any other author.

Lolita is definitely his most famous novel (and is also a great movie done by StanleyKubrick). The novel initially was banned in the U.S. but went on to be a huge bestseller. Several of his other novels, such as Pnin and Pale Fire (a title taken from Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens) are quite comical. If you’ve never tried any Nabokov, give him a whirl. The ACC Library has several works.
-         Red Wassenich, RGC Library

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