Characters in Nabokov's works

Please add more! Use alphabetical order and this format:

Name (cross-refer to Surname, first name): brief identification, Text (see Abbreviations for books) page# line# (Pt# [if any] Ch#); Next text in alphabetical order, . . . 

 

Ada Veen: see Veen, Ada

Prince Adulf: King Gafon’s son, rightful heir to the throne of Thule, a notorious libertine, K’s (his cousin) involvement in his assassination, Solus Rex

Alfyorov, Aleksey Ivanovich: husband of Mashenka, lives in Room 1 of the Russian pension, businessman, was a teacher of mathematics in 'old' Russia, Mary, The Defense

Alfyorov, Mary: see Alfyorov, Mashenka

Alfyorov, Mashenka: wife of Aleksey Alfyorov, former lover of Ganin, is to arrive at the Berlin, described as “enchanting and animated” by Mrs. Luzhin, Mary, The Defense (see also Mary Alfyorov)

Ardalion: professed painter, cousin of Lydia, love-affair with, Despair

Beauharnais, Kim: kitchen boy at Ardis, photographs and blackmails Ada, ‘photofiend’, blinded by Van with an alpenstock, Ada

Belochkin, Dr. Yakov: pediatrician from Pre-Soviet Russia, treats Pnin in his childhood during a fever, Pnin

Belochkin, Mira: daughter of Dr. Yakov (see above), Pnin's early sweetheart, put to death in Buchenwald, Pnin

Bishop, Clare: Sebastian’s ideal love, muse and companion, marries a certain Mr. Bishop after Sebastian, RLSK

Uncle Black: a conjurer par excellence, cousin of Pahl Rechnoy, said to be a person “who can play the violin standing upon his head, multiply one telephone number by another in three seconds, and can write his name upside down in his ordinary hand”, link with “the gentle old chess player Schwarz” from Sebastian's fiction, RLSK

Bliss, Betty: graduate student at Comparative Literature, a "soft thorn in Pnin's flesh", Pnin

Blorenge, Leonard: Head of French Dept. at Waindell, schoolmate of President Poore, Pnin

Bogolepov, Liza: psychotherapist, emigre poet, ex-wife of Pnin, Eric Wind, Pnin

Bohemsky, Lydia: One of the four Russian women from the list Silbermann had collated, V employs a “Sherlock Holmes stratagem” to meet her, RLSK

Boke, Sr.: professor of history, Lance's father, specialist of medieval times, Lance

Dr. Bonomini: a young Italian psychiatrist, author of The Heroics of Insanity, his interest in Falter which proves to be fatal (“he became the prey of Falter’s Medusa”), Ultima Thule

Brewster, Jack: Mistaken name by which Quilty addresses Humbert Humbert, Humbert plays along saying "Je suis Monsieur Brustère", Lolita

Bubendorf, Franz: Dreyer's nephew, lover of his wife, comes to Berlin to work in his uncle's firm, KQK

Bychkov, Ilya Ilyich : Innokentiy's father, village schoolmaster, Godunov-Cherdyntsev Sr. helps him out of a political trouble, The Circle

Bychkov, Innokentiy: Protagonist of the story, leanings towards 'Radical Left' once, in love with Tanya, The Circle

Carswell, Roy: paints a wonderful portrait of Sebastian (around 1933) that V. describes, RLSK

Chamar, Anastasia: Russian by descent, mother of Armande, dies after Armande's marriage in a Belgian hospital, TT

Chamar, Armande: Hugh Person's wife, has a lot of affairs, one of the possible narrators, TT

Clementses, Laurence, Joan and Isabel: Laurence as Professor of Philosophy at Waindell, Joan as his affectionate wife, have Pnin as a lodger in their house, their daughter Isabel who is married and whose room Pnin occupies, Pnin

Chernosvitov, Alla: Martin’s first love-affair (elder to him at the time), who wrote “fashionable poetry for circles”, thought by Martin’s mother as a “a sweet, affable young lady” that does not “excuse her attractive vulgarity”, Glory

Chernyshevski, Alexander Yakovlevich: Fyodor's friend, catastrophic effect of his son's death on him, Gift

Chernyshevski, Alexandra: wife of Alexander, holds literary soirees and readings, Gift

Chernyshevski, Yasha: homosexual poet, tragic love-triangle, shoots himself, Gift

Cockerells, Jack and Gwen: Jack as Head of English Dept. at Waindell College, "emulates Timofey to perfection", Gwen as his wife, Pnin

Conrad, Udo: a German writer in exile, with an “exquisite vision and a divine style”, friend of Albinus, LD

Darwin: Martin’s best friend from Cambridge, “sluggish and indolent”, served in the army and had found success as a writer, proposes to and is rejected by Sonia, Glory

Denny: biologist, astronaut, friend of Lance, Lance

Dorn, Lydia Nikolaevna: landlady of the Russian pension, widow of a German businessman, Mary

Dreyer, Kurt: prosperous businessman, has several firms under ownership, husband of Martha, maternal uncle of Franz, KQK

Dreyer, Martha: wife of Kurt Dreyer, lover of her husband's nephew, KQK

Edelweiss, Henry: Martin’s uncle, described as although being fond “of economizing on trifles, clenching a penny in his left hand, he willingly wrote large checks with the right”, lives in Lausanne, marries Sophie later on, Glory

Edelweiss, Martin: adventurous but level-headed protagonist of Glory, plans “an exploit” towards the end, Glory

Edelweiss, Sergey Robertovich: Martin’s father, a famous dermatologist, dies at the beginning of the novel, Glory

Edelweiss, Sofia: Martin’s ‘Anglophile’ widowed mother, her concern for Martin, writes to him every week, her secular philosophy towards life, marries Henry (her late husband’s cousin) later on, Glory

Old Enricht alias Menetek-El-Pharsin: Franz's landlord where Franz and Martha have their rendezvous, "famed illusionist and conjurer", counterpart of the Inventor figure (see below), KQK

Erika: cook, caretaker of the Russian pension owned by Frau Dorn, Mary

Falter, Adam: previously a hard-working person, possessed of a precise and powerful “volitional substance,” makes a superhuman discovery, said to resemble a person whose “skeleton has been removed” but with “his mind intensified tenfold”, his conversation with Sineusov, Ultima Thule

Felix: vagabond, Hermann's "false double", Despair

Ferdinand: Franco-Hungarian writer, Nina's husband, Spring in Fialta

Ganin, Lev Glebovich: impressionable young protagonist of Mary, is due to leave his present lodgings, his past love “Mashenka”, Mary

Godunov-Cherdyntsev, Countess Elizaveta Pavlovna: Fyodor's mother, writes long letters to her son, Gift, The Circle

Godunov-Cherdyntsev, Fyodor Konstantinovich: poet, critic, biographer, protagonist and implied author of the novel, Gift

Godunov-Cherdyntsev, Count Konstantin Kirillovich: Fyodor's father, famous naturalist, never returns from his scientific expedition to Central Asia, Gift, The Circle

Gornotsvetov: ballet dancer, lives with Kolin in Room 6 of the Russian pension, described with Kolin as “effeminate”, Mary

Mr. Goodman: Sebastian Knight’s former secretary, writes an atrocious book “The Tragedy of Sebastain Knight”, RLSK

Hagen, Herman: head of German Dept. at Waindell College, "staunch protector" of Pnin, Pnin

Hentzner, Paul: "an eccentric farmer of German extraction, with old-fashioned hobbies such as taxidermy and herborizing." John Shade esteems his company as he knows "the names of things", PF

The Inventor: a somewhat sinister figure in the novel staying at the "Montevideo", designs for Dreyer a series of "auto-mannequins" - dummies who move in a life-like way so as to exhibit clothes, counterpart of Enricht (see above), KQK

Ivanov: barber in Berlin, formerly a captain, nickname "Razor", Razor

Karenina, Dorianna: well-known German actress, famous “for her exquisite shoulders, her Mona Lisa smile and her husky grenadier voice”, her stage-name suggested by a boy who committed suicide, LD

Karlovich, Hermann: insurance man, wannabe author, Despair

Engineer Kern: civil engineer, interest in turbines, knew Alexander Blok, Gift

King Wing: Demon Veen's wrestling master, teaches Van how to walk, 'dance on his hands' which he designates as 'a rare art', also teaches him some wrestling holds, Ada

Klara: a 26-year old typist, is in love with Ganin, Mary

Kolin: ballet dancer, lives with Gornotsvetov in Room 6 of the Russian pension, sees himself as “Verlaine’s “half Pierrot and half Gavroche”, Mary

Komarovs, Oleg and Serafima: Oleg as a muralist, at Fine Arts of Waindell, Serafima as his wife, Pnin

Koncheyev: emigre-poet, Fyodor's mysterious alter-ego, Gift

Knight, Sebastian: acclaimed novelist, dies of a heart-condition, RLSK

Knight, Virginia: Sebastian’s mother, dies of a rare variety of angina pectoris, known as “Lehmann’s disease” that Sebastian inherits, RLSK

Kruzhevnitsyn, Lavrentiy Ivanovich, Lik: actor, protagonist of Lik

Kutaysov, Ivan Ivanovich: Tanya's husband, The Circle

Kutaysov, Tatiana nee Godunov-Cherdyntsev: Fyodor's sister, married and has a daughter, Gift, The Circle

Lake: Victor’s revered art teacher at St. Bart’s school, "unconventional and unusual teacher", his fascinating theory of colors, Pnin

Lancelot, Emery Boke: astronaut, enthusiastic mountain-climber, Lance

Lang: “great painter”, paints a celebrated mural at Waindell College, also makes Sybil Shade’s “portrait”, Pnin, PF

Madame Lecerf: V’s climatic meeting with her, friend of Helene von Graun, one of the hotel guests, they meet at her country-house in Lescaux, current name of Nina Rechnoy, see also entries for Nina Rechnoy and Toorovetz, RLSK

Luzhin, Aleksandr Ivanovich: Grandmaster, hero of Zashchita Luzhina, Defense

Luzhin, Ivan: see entry for Luzhin Sr., Defense, Gift

Lupolova, Praskovia (c.1784-1809): A counterexample to how Mademoiselle arrived in winter (zima), when coming to Vyra in 1905.  A Russian folk hero who won a reprieve for her father's exile through an imperial decree, an ukase (указ). Her story is referenced by the mention of Xavier de Maistre's novella, La Jeune Sibérienne / The Young Siberian Girl, DB (Ch. 5)

Luzhin's Aunt: second cousin to Luzhin's mother, "sweet copper-haired", Luzhin bunks school to play chess at her house, affair with his father, Defense

Luzhin Senior, or elderly Luzhin: Luzhin's father, writes sentimental novels for children, owns estate, over-concerned with Luzhin's future, Defense

Luzhin's mother: elder Luzhin's wife, her father as a virtuoso violinist, dies by end of Chap 4 alone, Defense

Lydia: wife of Hermann, on-going affair with Ardalion, Despair

Miss Phalen: [Also See Phalen, Euphemia] Watchdog of Lolita for Mrs. Haze. Miss Phalen had misfallen into the wordplay of Phalène, when she broke her hip, Lolita [See articles: Miss Phalen in Lolita and Meet Miss Phalen in Lolita.]

Miss Pratt: Headmistress of Beardsley School for Girls (Lolita's finishing school); Nabokov might have been playing on a formula such as ‘prattling prate of a prat,’ Lolita

Mrs. Luzhin: Luzhin's wife, daughter from a wealthy family, currently living in Germany, sets everything up, kind and sensitive but unable to reach out to Luzhin, Defense

Mrs. Luzhin's mother: Luzhin's mother-in-law; disapproves of her son-in-law and his profession; cold war with her daughter, Defense

Mertz, Oscar: Zina's much loved natural father, dies of heart ailment, Gift

Mertz, Zina: Fyodor's muse, works at a lawyer's office, in love with his writing, developing romance, Gift

Moon, Archibald: Cambridge Professor of Russian literature and history, plans an English-language history of Russia which would “give a perfect image of one orbicular millennium”, Glory

Moore, Julia: stepdaughter of German-English writer Mr. R, R's "love of life", brief affair with Hugh, friend of Armande, TT

Moser: One of Luzhin's chess opponents, Defense

Nina: heroine of Spring in Fialta

Orlovius: lawyer, acquaintance of Hermann and Lydia, Despair

Perov, Konstantin: poet of Georgian Nights, dubbed as "Russian Rimbaud", A Forgotten Poet

Person, Dr. Henry Emery: Father of Hugh Person, dies during their trip in Switzerland, one of the possible narrators, TT

Person, Hugh: Protagonist of Transparent Things, copy-editor, markets the 'Person Pen', TT

Petrishchev: schoolmate of Luzhin, queries about a math problem in Chap 3, meets Luzhin in the Ball in Chap 12, Defense

Phalen, Euphemia: [Also See Miss Phalen] Miss Euphemia Phalen, whose first name speaks well of ill-omened things, just like Humbert Humbert does with his euphemisms for pedophilia, Lolita

Phalen, Miss: [See Miss Phalen], Lolita

Phil: R's publisher, Hugh worked at his publishing house, TT

Pilgram, Eleanor: compassionate wife of Paul, The Aurelian

Pilgram, Paul: "lepper", an Aurelian of the old, shop-keeper, The Aurelian

Pnin, Dr. Pavel: Pnin's father, an ophthalmologist, had treated in the past Leo Tolstoy and the "narrator" of Pnin, Pnin

Pnin, Timofey: Professor of Russian Literature, Pale Fire, Pnin

Pnin, Valeria: mother of Timofey Pnin, Pnin

Podtyagin, Anton Sergeyevich: an “aging Russian poet”, lives in a Russian pension along with Ganin, has a heart ailment, loses his “passport” to Paris, Mary, Gift

Poore, Sam: President of Waindell College, in wheelchair, lost his sight, Pnin

Pratt, Helen: Clare Bishop’s “great friend”, V’s source of information about Clare and Sebastian, RLSK

Mr. R, also von R: Author of several novels, pronounced as a "master-stylist" by reviewers, definitely one of the narrators, TT

Rechnoy, Paul Pahlich: Ex-husband of Nina Rechnoy, married to Varvara Mitrofanna when V. visits him, RLSK

Rechnoy, Nina: The then wife of Paul Rechnoy, described by him as “an international spy; Mata Hari type”, Sebastian’s last love affair, see also entries for Nina Toorovetz and Mme Lecerf, RLSK

Reich, Sarah: Dreyer's secretary at the office, KQK

Romanovich, Pavel: love-interest of Maria, A Slice of Life

Rosanov, Natasha: Sebastian’s first love, now a mother of two boys, RLSK

Rubanski, Lyudmila Borisovna: is in a love-affair with Ganin which is subsequently called off, friends with Klara, Mary

Segur: art-collector, friend of Ferdinand, Spring in Fialta

Shade, Caroline nee Lukin: mother of John Shade, co-author of Birds of Mexico, PF

Shade, Hazel: Daughter of poet, John Shade, PF

Shade, John: poet-scholar, poet of Pale Fire, PF

Shade, Maud: painter, poet, aunt of John Shade, PF

Shade, Samuel: father of John Shade, vice-president of a firm dealing in surgical instruments, ornithologist, co-author of Birds of Mexico, PF

Shade, Sybil: John Shade's wife, translator, PF

Shchyogolev, Marianna: Zina's mother, remarries, has Fyodor as a tenant, loves Berlin, Gift

Shchyogolev, Boris: a public prosecutor in Pre-Soviet Russia, gets a position at Copenhagen, Zina's adopted father, Gift

Sheldon, P.G.: poet, friends with Clare and Sebastian, RLSK

Sheppard, Bill: Pnin's landlord, former superintendent of college grounds at Waindell, Pnin

Shigaev, Leonid Ivanovich: compiler of dictionary, beloved friend of Victor in In memory of L.I.Shigaev

Shishkov, Peter: protagonist of Orache, A Bad Day

Mr. Silbermann: offers V. his services as a sleuth which helps him in his quest to discover Sebastian’s last affair, RLSK

Sineusov, Dmitri Nikolaevich: artist (‘no longer independent’), commissioned by a Nordic poet to illustrate a poem, entitled “Ultima Thule”, his recently deceased wife, Ultima Thule, Solus Rex

Smirnovski, Oleg Sergeyevich : Theosophist and proprietor of a liqueur factory, acts as a witness in Luzhin's wedding, Defense

Starov, Dr. Alexander Alexandrovich: Sebastian’s consulting doctor; also treated his mother Virginia, RLSK

Tal, Ilya Borisovich: company director, writer, Lips to Lips

Mr. Tamworth: Baron R's secretary, also his "Boswell", TT

Thayer, Roy and Margaret: Roy as Professor of English Literature, scribbles "cryptogrammic" verses in diary, Margaret his wife, works at the library, cousin of Joan Clements (see above), Pnin

Toorovetz, Nina: Maiden name of Nina Rechnoy, see the entries for Nina Rechnoy and Mme. Lecerf, RLSK

Turati: has the final chess match with Luzhin adjourned, Luzhin composes an elaborate but ultimately unused "defense" against him, Defense

Valentin Ivanovich: Mr. and Mrs. Luzhin's common geography teacher, Defense

Valentinov: Luzhin's erstwhile manager, his "chess father", working on a movie by the end, Defense

Vane, Cynthia: spiritualist, painter, host of literary 'salons', older sister of Sybil, The Vane Sisters

Vane, Sybil: College-student, sister of Cynthia, The Vane Sisters

Vasiliy, Ivanovich: dreamer, protagonist of Cloud, Castle, Lake

Vasiliy, Nikolai: brother of Maria, A Slice of Life

Vasilevna, Maria: heroine of A Slice of Life

Veen, Adelaida (Ada): Lover of brother Ivan (Van) Veen, actress, explorer-naturalist, author, Adapassim

Veen, Lucinda (Lucette; Lucy): Consumed by her hopeless, tragic love for cousin Van Veen, Ada

Veen, Ivan (Van): "hero" and "villain" of the novel Ada, psychologist, author, philosopher, etc.

Victor: central character and narrator of Spring in Fialta

Wind, Eric: psychotherapist, ex-husband of Liza, married to a Mr. Church later-on,  Pnin

Wind, Victor: son of Eric and Liza Wind, prospective painter, has Pnin as his spiritual father, Pnin

Zilanov, Sonia: Martin’s love interest, works at an office in Berlin, said to be an “oddly attractive young girl, although obviously a moody and ruthless flirt”, her ‘Zoorland’ conversations with Martin, Glory

Zographos: schoolmate of Van Venn at Riverlane, Ada 33.14 (Pt. 1 Ch 4), 146.11 (as "Zogdog") (Pt. 1 Ch 23)