Readersforum's Blog

January 26, 2013

Vladimir Nabokov on Literature and Life: A Rare 1969 BBC Interview

By Maria Popova

strongopinions“The arrows of adverse criticism cannot scratch, let alone pierce, the shield of what disappointed archers call my ‘self-assurance.’”

In the fall of 1969, British broadcaster and journalist James Mossman submitted 58 questions on literature and life for celebrated author Vladimir Nabokov — butterfly-lover, master of melancholy, frequenter of ideal bookshelves — for an episode of BBC-2′s Review. Nabokov ended up answering 40 of them in what is best described as part interview, part performance art, eventually published in Strong Opinions (UK; public library) — a 1973 collection of Nabokov’s finest interviews, articles and editorials. Some of the conversation is preserved in this rare original audio, with highlights transcribed below:

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