Vladimir Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian. After the publication of Lolita ‐ his most successful and widely read work ‐ in the English language, he wrote, ʺMy private tragedy, which cannot, and indeed should not, be anybodyʹs concern, is that I had to abandon my natural idiom, my untrammeled, rich, and infinitely docile Russian tongue for a second‐rate brand of English.”
Joseph Conrad was born in the Ukraine, and spent twenty years as a merchant seaman. When, at the age of 38, he wrote his first novel, he did so in his third language, English.
These two writers have had a lasting influence on the literary style of their adopted language. We will read novels, stories, and nonfiction by both men. Students will write two essays.