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NABOKOV, Vladimir.

Nikolai Gogol.

Norfolk, CT: New Directions, [1944] Stock Code: 123847
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Intimate presentation copy to his wife

First edition, first issue, presentation copy, inscribed in Rrussian by Nabokov to his wife Véra on the front free endpaper: "My beloved, here's a little book for you, my life, here's another little book for you, my love, there will be more little books / B the letter "V" in English / 1944". Nabokov has annotated this copy in nearly 60 instances, from an additional word inscribed in the margin to some 30 instances of underscored text, indicating where a textual correction might be made, or, in some cases, where he questions his own use of English (this was one of the first books Nabokov wrote in English). These notations occur primarily throughout the first 85 pages, in particular on pages 3-5, and also include check marks and "x"s.

This is the fifth in the New Directions "Makers of Modern Literature" series, the previous monographs having been Harry Levin on James Joyce, David Daiches on Virginia Woolf, Lionel Trilling on E. M. Forster, and Edwin Honig on García Lorca. There were ten further studies in the series.

First editions of Nikolai Gogol are exceptionally scarce inscribed or annotated by Nabokov, and are particularly uncommon with so personal an inscription. Only two copies thus are recorded as having appeared at auction: the first, a presentation copy inscribed to his cousin by marriage, Anna Feigin (Christie's, 2011), and the second, to an unnamed recipient (Swann, 1982). The present copy, inscribed to Véra, is arguably the most intimate association copy to appear in commerce.

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Octavo. Original tan cloth, spine lettered in black. With the dust jacket. Housed in a custom made black half morocco slipcase.


Photographic portrait frontispiece of Gogol.


Annotated throughout by Nabokov in pencil. Very minor wear to dust jacket extremities and a few light creases on rear panel, tiny chip to top edge of half-title, else a bright, fresh copy.


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