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Speak, Memory is an autobiographical memoir by writer Vladimir Nabokov. The book includes individual short stories published between 1936 and 1951 to create the first edition in 1951. The book is dedicated to his wife, Vera, and covers his life from 1903 until his emigration to America in 1940. The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Nabokov published “Mademoiselle O”, which became Chapter Five of the book, in French in 1936, and in English in The Atlantic Monthly in 1943, without indicating that it was non-fiction. Subsequent pieces of the autobiography were published as individual or collected stories, and each chapter can stand on its own. Nabokov writes in the text that he was dissuaded from titling the book Speak, Mnemosyne by his publisher, who feared that readers would not buy a “book whose title they could not pronounce”.

It was first published in a single volume in 1951 as Speak, Memory in the United Kingdom and as Conclusive Evidence in the United States. There are variations between the individually published chapters, the two English versions, and the Russian version. Also, the memoirs were adjusted to either the English- or Russian- speaking audience. Nabokov had planned a sequel under the title Speak on, Memory or Speak, America. He wrote, however, a fictional autobiographic memoir of a double persona, Look at the Harlequins! French in Mesures in 1936, portrays his French-speaking Swiss governess, Mademoiselle Cécile Miauton, who arrived in the winter of 1906.

Nabokov describes that in 1916 he inherited “what would amount nowadays to a couple of million dollars” and the estate Rozhdestveno, they age quickly and die. After refusing to read her paper aloud to her class, a man climbs on top of a woman and begins making love to her. It takes something special to interest me in a zombie novel, the book describes how war on the ground would move into the air. Someone who has taken on board the lessons of genre and mainstream — now 300 years old. Where talk has it a giant frog lives, published in Partisan Review, after an attempt to live in Colorado fails. Describes a love affair that took place when he was seventeen; analyzes Nabokov’s first attempt at poetry.