Literary Firsts and Poetry from Alexander Rare Books

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Literary Firsts and Poetry from Alexander Rare Books


Vladamir Nabokov is most unusual among great writers in that he wrote novels in multiple languages. Raised in Russia in a household where English and French were also spoken, he wrote in his native Russian until he was 40. However, he left Russia after the revolution, and after a time in England, settled in Germany. From there he continued to write in Russian, but with the war approaching, he escaped to France, and then to the United States ahead of German invading troops. In America, he switched to English, in which he wrote for the remainder of his life. He is best known for the controversial 1955 book, "Lolita." However, he had a long and acclaimed career of other works in both languages. Item 79 is the first English translation of his last Russian work, The Gift. This novel was first published in Russian in 1938, but the English language edition did not come out until 1963. While Nabokov did not do the translation himself, as he did with others of his works, he did keep a close and critical eye on the job and make revisions. Item 70. $90.

"aretha/crystal jukebox queen of hymn and him diffused in drunk transfusion wound would heed sweet soundwave crippled & cry salute..." Okay, who is this? And what does it mean? The answer to the first question is Bob Dylan; to the second, who knows, maybe nothing. Dylan never seemed to take his lyrics as seriously as his legions of fans. These come from his only novel, Tarantula, and Alexander has three of the pirated pre-publication editions available. Priced at $175-$350. Personally, I prefer Dylan with music. Here's a less expensive alternative: Pass Thru The Fire: The Collected Lyrics, by Lou Reed. Reed may not be selling iPods, but his influence on rock may well be more noticeable today than Dylan's. Hey, why don't you swallow razor blades? $30.

Alexander Rare Books may be reached at 802-476-0838 or at alexanderbooks@charter.net.