Detail of the cover for one of the editions of Ada.
I haven't read any Nabokov in awhile, so I am treating myself this holiday season to reading Ada. I have a list of favorite authors in my head, and from time to time I read another book by one of my favorites.
Eric Wagner has told me the footnotes in Pale Fire provided some of the inspiration for the footnotes in The Widow's Son. Wagner does not remember RAW discussing any of Nabokov's other work; if anyone has any information, please chip in.
I started reading Nabokov in high school, when I was actually assigned Despair in my creative writing class, and loved it. The other Nabokov books I've read are Pale Fire (my favorite so far, and I've read it more than once); Lolita; King, Queen, Knave; Glory; Laughter in the Dark and The Real Life of Sebastian Knight. Obviously, I have quite a few other books left to read.
Ada Online has very detailed annotations of Ada (Nabokov's longest novel) by Brian Boyd, his chief biographer. I am doing my best to ignore the site while I actually read the book. But I wanted to share that April 23 is one of the motifs in the book, and Boyd says that the date is Nabokov's birthday. Click "Motifs" at the site and scroll down to "April 23."
Synchronicity of the day: Eric, an English teacher in California, subscribes by email to a "Word of the Day." Minutes after I first posted this, he forwarded today's "Word," which is "cordate," with the subject line, "Check out the first citation." I looked, and the first citation is the obit for Vladimir Nabokov published in the New York Times: "He also wrote at 15, his first poem after seeing a raindrop cause a cordate leaf to flutter." (Cordate means heart shaped, as with a shell, or a leaf.)