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Protonymphet

Frank Kermode, 5 February 1987

TheEnchanter 
by Vladimir Nabokov, translated by Dmitri Nabokov.
Picador, 127 pp., £8.95, January 1987, 0 330 29666 3
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... publish The Enchanter because he was so busy at the time; or perhaps he changed his mind. In 1967 Andrew Field in his book Nabokov: His Life and Art gave a brief but accurate account of the piece, translating two longish passages with similar accuracy, judging by the closeness of his version to Dmitri Nabokov’s. However, Mr Nabokov seems to have fallen ...

Very Nasty

John Sutherland, 21 May 1987

VN: The Life and Art of Vladimir Nabokov 
by Andrew Field.
Macdonald, 417 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 356 14234 5
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... Field’s VN: The Life and Art of Vladimir Nabokov is a biography which can make one wonder what biography is all about. On the face of it, the book marks the end of a tempestuous literary love affair. As his publishers proclaim, Field has devoted his professional life to the study of Nabokov ...

The event that doesn’t occur

Michael Wood, 4 April 1985

The Man from the USSR, and Other Plays 
by Vladimir Nabokov, translated by Dmitri Nabokov.
Weidenfeld, 342 pp., £20, February 1985, 0 297 78596 6
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... Warsaw, Belgrade and New York. The actors in Paris had some difficulty with the stylised roles, Andrew Field tells us, but this may have been because they weren’t sure whether they were doing something like Gogol or something like Chekhov. They were doing Nabokov, although it can’t have been clear to them what that was. He was by this time a ...
Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years 
by Brian Boyd.
Chatto, 783 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 7011 3701 0
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... judicious account of Nabokov’s life in the States, and, post-Lolita, in Montreux. Disposing of Andrew Field, his predecessor in the field, Brian Boyd cites his insolent, perfunctory response to one of Nabokov’s factual corrections. Told an event had taken place in July and not on ‘a wet autumnal day’, ...

After-Lives

John Sutherland, 5 November 1992

Keepers of the Flame: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography 
by Ian Hamilton.
Hutchinson, 344 pp., £18.99, October 1992, 0 09 174263 3
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Testamentary Acts: Browning, Tennyson, James, Hardy 
by Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 273 pp., £27.50, June 1992, 0 19 811276 9
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The Last Laugh 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 131 pp., £10.99, December 1991, 0 7011 4583 8
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Trollope 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Hutchinson, 551 pp., £20, September 1992, 0 09 173896 2
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... There has recently been the quarrel between Nabokov’s biographers – the publishing rascal Andrew Field and friend of the family, Brian Boyd. Should Diane Middlebrook have had access to Anne Sexton’s psychiatric records? Did Lawrence Durrell commit incest with his daughter, and if he did should the public know about it? The reluctance of his ...

The House Through

Andrew Motion, 20 March 1980

... towards me, seeing nothing but a rim of moss around the water-butt, trees, and wind across the field brushing grass to molten silver. II Here by the door, I am identical with its thin paint; then one step and darkness falls in a furious storm of splinters, rings, grains, until daylight inside again and the hall, and his voice somewhere, but not as ...
... the other way round – Constable finding room at his elbow for Lawrence’s first teacher Maurice Field. Cézanne, of course, was an ideal father – and an ideal self. It was the depth and drive of this fantasy that underwrote his lavishness, the extremity of his generosity: for if his allegiance to the family of painters led to a certain tribal ...

Tamworth

Andrew Motion, 13 October 1988

... leaving us such silence I’d swear I heard the moon creak as it entered the sky, and the stubble field around us breathing earth-smell through its ...

Diary

Andrew O’Hagan: Dr Macgregor’s Diagnosis, 3 March 2011

... common decency. British politicians don’t talk that way any more, even when it matters. Take Andrew Lansley, the secretary of state for health and once the principal private secretary to Norman Tebbit. Like so many of his cabinet colleagues, and so many of those student politicians in the shadow cabinet, he appears to grasp the bullet points of an ...

Rhino-Breeder

John Sturrock, 24 May 1990

Vladimir Nabokov: Selected Letters 1940-1977 
edited by Dmitri Nabokov and Matthew Bruccoli.
Weidenfeld, 582 pp., £29.95, February 1990, 0 297 81034 0
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... error, whether respecting himself or others. In his own case he has to cope with his biographer Andrew Field, his commerce with whom deteriorates swiftly and with cause, from the co-operative to the adversarial, to the point where, by 1973, Nabokov is telling one of his Russian correspondents: ‘His version of my life has turned out to be cretinous. I ...

Other People’s Mail

Bernard Porter: MI5, 19 November 2009

The Defence of the Realm: The Authorised History of MI5 
by Christopher Andrew.
Allen Lane, 1032 pp., £30, October 2009, 978 0 7139 9885 6
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... as MI5 and MI6 had to be kept so secret; MI5 remained officially secret for 80 years. Christopher Andrew has another explanation, however. It was just a ‘taboo’, he writes (quoting the historian Michael Howard), like ‘intra-marital sex’. Everyone knew it went on, and was ‘quite content that it should, but to speak, write or ask questions about ...

‘How big?’ ‘That big’

Andrew Motion: Tales from the Riverbank, 5 February 1998

Notes on Fishing 
by Sergei Timmofeevich Aksakov, translated by Thomas Hodge.
Northwestern, 230 pp., $30, September 1997, 9780810113664
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... a jar?’ I was six but I thought I knew what she meant. I had these friends, the Routledge twins: Andrew and Peter. My own two Christian names, as it happened, but divided up like that I didn’t recognise them as mine. Andrew was quiet and cautious, Peter quick and reckless. They lived on a mucky farm nearby; you turned ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: With the Hackerati, 19 August 2010

... of America could be farmed out to any individual with a computer, paid to watch an entrance or a field or a block of houses for evidence of terrorist activity. That idea has, as it were, come home to roost, but not as the governors of security imagined. What it now means is that such individuals, unpaid and unsupervised, can go the other way, keeping watch ...

Diary

Sean French: Fortress Wapping, 6 March 1986

... military activity (you may remember Swain as a character in Roland Joffe’s movie, The Killing Fields), but they were astonished to see an armoured car with a full complement of Royal Marines apparently patrolling inside the heavily-fortified perimeter fence. Had Rupert Murdoch called in the Armed Forces? The truth turned out to be less sinister. The ...

Diary

Andrew O’Hagan: Hating Football, 27 June 2002

... all the better to settle down to a full 90 minutes with Ally’s Tartan Army, now taking the field in Mendoza. A full cast of Ayrshire Oompa-Loompas (myself at the head) was then marched upstairs to a requisitioned boxroom, where several rounds of pass-the-parcel proceeded without the aid of oxygen. I managed to eat an entire Swiss roll by myself and ...

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