->''"It's no use, he sees her \\
He starts to shake and cough \\
Just like the old man in \\
That book by Nabokov."''
-->--'''Music/ThePolice''', "Don't Stand So Close to Me", referring to the book ''Literature/{{Lolita}}''

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (Russian: Влади́мир Влади́мирович Набо́ков, 22 April [Old Style 10 April] 1899 2 July 1977) was a novelist, polyglot, genius, CausticCritic and (occasionally) right bastard; and a close relative of the authors [[SignificantAnagram V. Sirin and Vivian Darkbloom]].

Born in Russia, Nabokov was forced to flee the country at the age of 19, due to [[UsefulNotes/RedOctober some revolution or other]], which left him with very anti-communist feelings. His father was a liberal politican and member of the provisional government after the February Revolution. After the rise of the Bolsheviks, he and his family went to Berlin, but Nabokov's father ended up [[ShootTheShaggyDog being assassinated by a pro-Tsarist]] right-winger while trying to stop him from assassinating someone else. This episode is reflected in many of Nabokov's writings. He spent the next two decades in Europe writing novels in Russian, then brought his family to the United States [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII in 1940]], where he taught literature and wrote novels in English (making him one of very few authors to be able to write good literature in more than one language). The controversial subject matter of [[Literature/{{Lolita}} one of these]] made him very famous, and he was able to quit teaching and write full time. Eventually he settled in Switzerland, where he continued writing novels in English, and died in 1977.

He experienced synesthesia (in his case, he saw letters as colors), and was an accomplished amateur lepidopterist (that means he loved butterflies). Nabokov's study of butterflies was significant enough that an entire genus of butterflies, ''Nabokovia'', was named after him. He was also very fond of {{unreliable narrator}}s.

!! Works written in Russian:
* ''Mary'' (a story of memory and first love, as well as a snapshot of emigre life, made into a film starring Cary Elwes)
* ''King, Queen, Knave'' (a story of adultery with a playing card motif)
* ''The Defense'' (metatextual portrait of a chess prodigy, made into a film starring John Turturro; also called ''The Luzhin Defense'')
* ''The Eye''
* ''Glory''
* ''Literature/LaughterInTheDark''
* ''Despair'' (thriller involving doppelgangers, one of Nabokov's favorite themes, adapted into a film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
* ''Invitation to a Beheading'' Kafkaesque tale of a man in a baffling prison for the crime of nonconformity)
* ''The Gift'' (his masterpiece in Russian, the story of Fyodor, a young emigré Russian writer in interwar Berlin and his attempt to make a name for himself and find love: contains an epic show within a show in the form of its fourth chapter, which in its entirety consists of Fyodor's short biography of the 19th century writer Nikolay Chernyshevsky)
* ''The Enchanter'' (written in 1939 but unpublished until 1985, it shares many themes and events with the later Literature Lolita)

!! Novels written in English:
* ''The Real Life of Sebastian Knight'' (the story of a man's attempt to write a biography of his brother, a dead novelist; also the biography itself)
* ''Literature/{{Bend Sinister}}''
* ''Literature/{{Lolita}}''
* ''Literature/{{Pnin}}''
* ''Literature/PaleFire''
* ''Literature/AdaOrArdor'' (Nabokov's {{doorstopper}}, an epic tale of obsessed love in an alternate 19th century)
* ''Transparent Things''
* ''Look at the Harlequins!'' (the autobiography of a novelist eerily similar to Nabokov in many ways and dramatically different in others)
* ''The Original of Laura'' (incomplete, and published posthumously by his son, after 30 years of soul searching as Nabokov wanted the rough draft destroyed after his death)
He is also the author of numerous short stories, poems, plays, lectures, translations (most notably of ''Literature/EugeneOnegin''), and biographies (Creator/NikolaiGogol's and his own). Incidentally, he said his first name rhymes with "redeemer" and his last name is pronounced "nuh-BOCK-off," and indeed in Russian it does and it is, though English-speakers rarely say it that way -- largely thanks to Music/ThePolice, whose "Don't Stand So Close To Me" popularized the mispronunciation.

!! Tropes
* AcceptableTargets: Nabokov had a very long list of these, but top of the list are communists and anyone who sympathises with them, and psychoanalysts and anyone who thinks there's anything to psychoanalysis.[[note]]He had a point about communism, since the Russian Revolution had forced him to emigrate from his homeland, and his father was assassinated as part of the general instability of the revolution, although the assassin wasn't actually a communist but a far-right monarchist. (Despite this, VN was more sympathetic to kings and monarchies than he was to communist regimes or left-wing politics generally.) His loathing of psychoanalysis can probably only be explained by...psychoanalysis.[[/note]]
** His hatred of left-wing regimes became so virulent in later life that when UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson went into hospital to have gall bladder surgery, Nabokov (who didn't know the president) wrote him a Get Well Soon letter, expressing the wish that Johnson would soon be able to get back to the good work he was doing in South-East Asia. This was a reference to the [[UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar carpet-bombing of North Vietnam]], a military campaign that even those who organised it came to believe was ineffectual.
* TrollingCreator: His interviews, published lectures, forewords, and general comments are littered with mocking references to authors he had no respect for (including but not limited to Creator/BertoltBrecht, Creator/WilliamFaulkner, Creator/FyodorDostoevsky, [[Literature/{{Buddenbrooks}} Thomas Mann]], Creator/HenryJames, Creator/AlbertCamus, UsefulNotes/SigmundFreud...), as well as ideas or habits of thought he had no time for. His habit of not-always-ironic self-admiration also comes under this category. He was so well known for it, that another TrollingCreator (who was one of the few contemporary writers Nabokov admitted to ''liking'') called him for it:
--> '''Creator/JorgeLuisBorges''': In the preface to an anthology of Russian literature, Vladimir Nabokov stated that he had not found a single page of Dostoevsky worthy of inclusion. This ought to mean that Dostoevsky should not be judged by each page but rather by the total of all the pages that comprise the book.