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His early youth was spent on a country estate where he was able to observe the life of the serfs and the relations between master and serf at their worst: his mother was possessed of a tyrannical nature and led her peasants and also her immediate family a miserable life.

The sentence comes from Nabokov's Lectures on Russian Literature. Is the sentence correct? Can you lead somebody a miserable life? Or is lead used in the sentence as a verb that is pronounced /lɛd/?

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… his mother was possessed of a tyrannical nature and led her peasants and also her immediate family a miserable life.

In idiomatic Present Day English, lead (past led) is not a ditransitive verb, i.e., one which takes two objects, like elected her president or gave me a lecture.

Curiously enough, this has not always been the case:

… if he behave himself well; but, if otherwise, they lead him a Life (as they say) like a Dog.— Roger North, The Life of the Honourable Sir Dudley North, 1744.

But Nabokov’s lectures were published in 1981.

What is missing is a causative — the tyrannical mother caused them to lead a miserable life – or a resultative — the mother made their lives miserable.

The easiest way to edit the clause would be to add a dependent infinitive:

… his mother was possessed of a tyrannical nature and led her peasants and also her immediate family to suffer a miserable life.

I wonder whether something like this was somehow omitted.

I could not readily find any details about Nabokov’s role in the publication of this book beyond his having given the lectures himself at various American universities. A New York Times review at the time of publication notes:

Fredson Bowers, who edited both volumes, says Nabokov's lectures were mainly handwritten. Sometimes they lacked clear organization, and parts remained in rough notes.

Whatever the case, a proofreader at the publishing house certainly should have caught the error.

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The sentence is correct English. In this context lead is a verb (pronounced /lɛd/), the past tense of the verb to lead. As you may work out from the context, it means

"... his mother made the lives of her peasants and also her immediate family miserable [because of her tyrannical nature]"

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