Arts, Culture & Media

Andrea Pitzer's New Biography 'The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov'

Vladimir Nabokov was one of the great writers of the 20th century.

Player utilities

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

He was also highly opinionated. As a new biography by Andrea Pitzer, "The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov" points out, "He dismissed Hemingway, Henry James, Balzac, Ezra Pound, Stendhal, D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann, Andre Gide, Andre Malraux, Jean-Paul Sartre, and women novelists as a group. While he sometimes disapproved of the phrase, Vladmir Nabokov had become an avator of art for art's sake: a playful experimenter for whom stylistic needs of story trumped all moral consideration."

Anchor Marco Werman interviews Pitzer about her new biography looks past Nabokov's style and stark opinions to how the historical events he experienced shaped his life and work.