Laughter in the Dark Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 52 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Laughter in the Dark.
This section contains 459 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Laughter in the Dark Summary & Study Guide Description

Laughter in the Dark Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Laughter in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov.

Rich, respectable, happy Albert Albinus lives in Berlin with his wife and daughter, but abandons them for young Margot Peters, whom he loves but is not loved in return. In the end, he sees only that his life has been a disaster.

Albert Albinus, rich art critic, imagines animating Old Master paintings, but finds no producer willing to risk the project. He writes Axel Miller in the U.S. about the project but puts plans on hold while he takes up with Margot Peters, an usher at the Argus Cinema. Margot discovers his address and phone number and begins phoning. During a visit to Albert's flat, she is nearly discovered by brother-in-law Paul.

When Albert gives Margot money to rent a flat, she, knowing that Elisabeth reads his mail, sends her address, Albert's family moves out, and he moves in with Margot, who wants rather to move into his elegant flat and be seen with him in public. Eventually she gets her way. Albert finances a movie on condition that Margot plays a major role and throws a lavish dinner party in the flat, which brings drunken Margot together with Axel, recently back in Germany. Margot desires Axel, but has invested too much energy in gaining access to Albert's riches to abandon him. Axel becomes a regular visitor, claiming to be homosexual in order to throw off Albert's suspicions.

Albert learns at the last moment that his daughter is dying, Axel and Margot talk him out of attending the funeral, and she demands he leave off his depression to attend her screening. It proves such a fiasco that Albert buys a car and suggests a vacation. Axel offers to drive. In Rouginard, Albert meets the writer Udo Conrad, who refers to Margot and Axel's amorous behavior, which is confirmed by a French colonel. Albert intends to shoot her for her treachery, but is persuaded simply to whisk her away. Driving for the first time in his life, overwrought with emotion, on winding mountainous roads, Albert swerves to avoid oncoming bicyclists, and is lucky only to be blinded.

Albert nearly goes insane. A specialist offers little hope, Margot tends to him in a Swiss chalet, with Axel not in New York as his farewell letter claims, but in the far bedroom. Albert adapts and develops keen hearing, Axel torments him with odd noises and tickling, and Elisabeth sends Paul to fetch Albert home. When he learns that Margot has come to clean out the flat of valuables, Albert enters rooms that he sees in memory, hunts her by scent and body heat, and dies when she turns the gun on him. Pain brings wondrous blueness to Albert's eyes as he considers the ruination of his life.

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This section contains 459 words
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