his and Proust’s preoccupations: timenand memory.n-Love. Language. Time. These are thenleitmotifs of the novel, and form a triumviratenand progression: body, mind andnsoul. Ada is the twentieth century’s mostndelightful erotic frolic; it is also, as VannVeen writes in the book’s epilog, “much,nmuch more.” Seen from the perspectivenof the late 70’s, it makes Nabokov’snproposition of coloring memory withnimagination a new civilizational manifesto.nOne wonders how many contemporarynwoes—sensibilities blunted to thenpoint of atrophy, the cheapness of bothnhuman life and death, hysterical terrorism,nbestiality presented as hedonism—cannbe confronted with this deceptivelynlight-minded recipe. Cultivationnas norm and value can rewrite the culturalncode of societies and civilizations,nAgainst the Bolshevik Nightmarenand the Fraud of RevolutionnVladimir Nabokov: Invitation to anBeheading; G.P. Putnam’s Sons; NewnYork, 1959. Bend Sinister; McGraw-nHill; New York, 1973-nby Paul Gottfriedn-i.student once asked a professornof comparative literature, where onenshould look for an explicit statement ofnNabokov’s political views. After reflectingnfor a moment, the teacher responded:n”Certainly not in his novels!” The answernis true, inasmuch as the author oiLolita,nPale Fire, and other numerous novelsnand short stories was rarely given tongrinding political axes in his books. True,nhis elegant prose and fondness for opulent,nold-world settings show thatnNabokov was no practitioner of proletariannart. His literature contains noncelebration of oppressed classes nor anynglorification of social upheaval. In factnhis stock and trade consist of keen interestnin haut monde personalities, sympatheticndepictions of upper-class indulgences,nplayfully contrived plots, and verbal acrobatics.nThese characteristics have been dulynnoted by Nabokov’s reviewers, many ofnwhom have praised his craftsmanshipnwhile making allowances for his supposednDr. Gottfried is the Chairman of thenHistory Department ofRockford Collegenand is a member of the PhiladelphianSociety and the Mont Pelerin Society,nprovincialism. Nabokov, we are led tonbelieve, was a Russian exile who nevernunderstood the modern world. Whatnbetter proofs were there than his avoidancenof “serious social issues” and hisncontinued residence in a florid Swissnhotel, from which he and his wife rarelynventured forth during the last decade ofnhis life?nAlthough such observations mightnwell bring solace to the Saturday Review’sneditorial staff, they deserve to be challengednas untrue. For one thing, Nabokovnwas in fact politically sensitive. His literaturenmakes political statements, evennwhile usually ignoring the rudely contemporary.nH is autobiography. Speak Memory, fornexample, nostalgically recalls his happynupbringing in and around St. Petersburgnin the years immediately preceding thenFirst World War. His father, VladimirnDmitrievich, an eminent jurist, wasnmade a member of the last Russian dietn(Duma) to be summoned by the Tsar inn1912. Although the elder Nabokov favoredna constitutional reform of the Tsaristngovernment, he strongly opposed thenBolsheviks, and fled with his family fromnthe Russian capital following the communistnseizure of power there in November,n1917. For a time thereafter thenNabokovs accompanied the White (anti-nBolshevik) Armies under the commandnof the brave, but ill-fated General AntonnDenikin. When Denikin’s army, badlynnneven those so bent on mindless changenas our time and society. Here I stand,nNabokov seems to say, with all the sillynirreverence, called by many culture, thatnI inherited from my past and my ancestors,nand all their failures and blundersnthat took a lot of effort to commit. Tonme, these are my riches, a splendid foundationnof the present and the future. Fornthis allegiance—call me whatever younwish. Dnsupplied and abandoned by their Frenchnallies, was forced to give up its struggle,nthe young Vladimir left Russia with hisnparents for exile in Western Europe. Thenevents of the Russian Revolution movednhim deeply.n-TVs a child, Nabokov had learnednEnglish from his governess and becamensufficiently expert in his adopted languagento obtain admission to Cambridge Universitynby the end of 1919- There henwon honors in the study of French andnRussian literature. He early engaged inna solitary intellectual guerilla with hisnprofessors and fellow-students about thennastiness of the communist regime. Byn1920 he waged unsuccessfully a heatedndebate at the Cambridge Union with anreporter from The Manchester Guardiannon the merits of the communist state.nHis defeat was owing to his inability tondemonstrate to the judges his own detachmentnin speaking about Lenin’s atrocities.nAt Cambridge his attacks on thenBolsheviks were interpreted, with typicalnliberal “fairness,” as being little more thannexpressions of peeve at his family’s lossnof station. It gave him a lifelong taste ofnWestern liberalism.nUndaunted, Nabokov took up his pennin 1927 to denounce the Soviet state onnthe tenth anniversary of its founding. Innan essay for The (English) Rudder hencomplained of the “putrid odor” causednby the most recent commemorations ofnthe communist victory in. Russia. Then9nChronicles of Culturen