Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is known about the chapters prior to the writing of this book?

Chapter Five is the first recorded work, published in French in 1936, under the name "Mademoiselle O," and later translated and published by The Atlantic Monthly in 1943. The rest of the chapters emerge similarly and are published separately, mainly by The New Yorker, between 1948 and 1951. He collects the essays and releases the full work under the name Conclusive Evidence, in America, and Speak, Memory in England.

2. Explain the process used to create this book.

"Speak, Memory's" chapters are first printed in other languages, then Nabakov translates the entire work into Russian. During this process, he revises the work, making additions and amendments. He later uses both translations to shape the current work, a process, which he calls a "re-Englishing (sic) of a Russian re-version of what had been an English re-telling of Russian memories." Between these revisions, Nabokov avails himself of information from relatives and acquaintances to touch up the biographical details his memory has warped or omitted.

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