In 1952 Nabokov was invited to Harvard by Professor Harry T. Levin and others as a visiting professor. He taught an undergraduate lecture course in the novel and did research on Pushkin in Widener Library. It was during this period that his son Dmitri was an undergraduate at Harvard, and that the Poetry Room recorded both public and studio readings by Nabokov.
In 1959, after the great success of Lolita, the Nabokovs moved to Switzerland, from which Vladimir would return to America only twice before his death in 1977. On one of these occasions, in 1964, he read his work before a capacity audience in Harvard’s Sanders Theater, where he had lectured in 1952. Portions of this reading are included here.
This information is drawn from the pamphlet that accompanies Vladimir Nabokov at Harvard, a set of two cassette tapes issued by the Poetry Room at Harvard University in 1988. Penn State has been granted permission by the Nabokov Estate to use these sound files.
1. “The Ballad of Longwood Glen” (1964)
2. “Exile” (1952)
3. “A Literary Dinner” (1952)
4. “The Refrigerator Awakes” (1952)
5. “A Discovery” (1952)
6. Prose excerpt from Pale Fire (1964)
7. “Silentium” (by Fedor Tiutchev, 1946)
8. “Exegi Monumentum” (by Alexandr Pushkin, 1946)