In the speech he gave upon accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, Albert Camus said that a writer “cannot serve today those who make history; he must serve those who are subject to it.” And in these twenty-three political essays, he demonstrates his commitment to history’s victims, from the fallen maquis of the French Resistance to the casualties of the Cold War.
Resistance, Rebellion and Death displays Camus’ rigorous moral intelligence addressing issues that range from colonial warfare in Algeria to the social cancer of capital punishment. But this stirring book is above all a reflection on the problem of freedom, and, as such, belongs in the same tradition as the works that gave Camus his reputation as the conscience of our century: The Stranger, The Rebel, and The Myth of Sisyphus.
Nabokov begins his Strong Opinions ‘I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.’ In the interviews collected here – covering everything from his own burgeoning literary celebrity to Kubrick’s Lolita to lepidoptery – he is never casual or off-guard. Instead he insisted on receiving questions in advance and always carefully composed his responses. Keen to dismiss those who fail to understand his work and happy to butcher those sacred cows of the literary canon he dislikes, Nabokov is much too entertaining to be infuriating, and these interviews, letters and articles are as engaging, challenging and caustic as anything he ever wrote.
The Gift is the phantasmal autobiography of Fyodor Godunov-Cherdynstev, a writer living in the closed world of Russian intellectuals in Berlin shortly after the First World War. This gorgeous tapestry of literature and butterflies tells the story of Fyodor’s pursuits as a writer. Its heroine is not Fyodor’s elusive and beloved Zina, however, but Russian prose and poetry themselves.