Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977)

Russian American poet, novelist, and educator. Born to a wealthy and prominent St. Petersburg family that barely escaped the 1917 revolution, Nabokov was educated at Cambridge University. He settled into the Russian émigré communities of Germany and later France, becoming known as a poet, novelist, and critic. In 1940 Nabokov came to the United States, where he taught literature at Wellesley College and Cornell University, and, now writing in flawless English, published four more novels and numerous essays, stories, and poems. He became an international celebrity and literary icon in 1958, when his controversial novel Lolita (1955) was finally published in America. With the earnings from Lolita Nabokov retired from teaching and moved into a luxury hotel in Switzerland to devote himself to writing such classic novels as Pale Fire (1962) and Ada (1969), as well as translating his early Russian novels into English. See also nabokov.com.