Vladimir Nabokov’s Mastery of Words Remains Unmatched

Using words for the sake of providing a message is a given, but how you are using them is what often creates the most profound and lasting impacts on an audience. Late Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov was known for putting words together in such a way to make his readers visualize more vividly to draw them in. Some of these included, but aren’t limited to the following: precision of word placement, rhythm, alliteration, and so on. Even decades after his passing, his work remains as some of the most influential pieces of writing of the 20th century.

Noble Works and Techniques

In 1955, Nabokov published Lolita, a controversial erotic novel that revolves around a professor’s sexual relations with his stepdaughter. While infamous for its vulgar and erotic theme, it remains as a classic with numerous plays and films developing from it. The robust atmosphere is not the only reason it remains as a classical book, however. Nabokov used words in such a unique way that somehow manages to keep readers intrigued with every sentence. Throughout this book, he would sometimes state phrases in his native tongue of Russian, or even other languages as well, such as French. Often, these are not even translated, as most readers were unable to decipher them. Additionally, he heavily focused on the volume and pace of his words, such as the phrase, “the English word ‘childhood’… sounds mysterious.” When read aloud, the pacing and placement of words helps create a distinction of volume for impact, so to speak.

This form of writing style via enhancing the audio and visual quality of words is normally only found prolifically in genres such as poetry, not novels. In Pale Fire, another one of his classics, he states, “it was this medley of metallic melodies which surrounded me.” Clearly, his usage of alliteration is intentional, and the rhythm makes the words flow even more if attention is given to it. Using methods of volume, alliteration, and pacing makes his messages come alive in such a way that amplifies the feelings and thoughts of the reader.

Leaving an Impact

Nabokov may be gone from this world, but his work remains unique with a charm that may never be matched. His novels showcase that, the structure and placement of words fulfill a huge role in conveying feelings and critical thinking to his readers. Techniques of rhythm, word placement, and alliterations are but only a handful of his methods. Controversy enshrouds some of his most famous work, but he utilizes these skills to make them only that much more memorable and impactful. Even decades after his death, his work still stands as an apex of a writing style that very few will ever master.