Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Updike, Bunin, Nabokov

Interesting fact:

John Updike, who considered Nabokov the greatest American writer of his time, had never read Ivan Bunin until I sent him my book of Bunin translations in 2006 (see posts of Updike's note to me). Immediately he recognized in Bunin's "Gentleman from San Francisco" the stylistic imprint of Vladimir Nabokov.

Except that this story was published when Nabokov was sixteen years old. The influence of Bunin on Nabokov, especially in the early, Russian-language works, is unmistakable. Nabokov himself would later take pains to distance himself from Bunin, even disparaging him at times. But the influence is there.

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