After Vladimir Nabokov's death in 1977, the novelist John Updike included the following praise of him (reprinted in Critical Essays on Vladimir Nabokov) in an obituary:
The power of the imagination is not apt soon to find another champion of such vigor. . . . He takes with him the secret of an undiscourageable creativity, he leaves behind a resplendent oeuvre.
Updike's admiration of Nabokov's work is one shared by many readers. Although he is best known for Lolita, his 1955 novel about the perverse Humbert Humbert's love for a twelve-year-old girl, Nabokov wrote seventeen other novels, dozens of poems, essays, lectures on literature, and over fifty short stories. He stands today among the ranks of Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf as one of the twentieth-century's foremost literary stylists.
"That in Aleppo Once . . ." first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in 1943. It was included in the 1958 collection Nabokov's Dozen. The story's title is...