NABOKV-L post 0015675, Wed, 14 Nov 2007 22:20:20 -0500

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Re: SIGHTING: VN and former student Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
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I am pleased and touched to learn that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has a vivid recollection of having taken a course of my father's at Cornell, and that her reading and writing were so strongly influenced by her contact with him. I would like to offer a small correction. The affirmation that French was Vladimir Nabokov's first language may well have been the result of a reportorial slip, explainable by the omnipresence of French (as well as English) in many cultured Russian households of the time, and also by the fact that, although Nabokov wrote infrequently in French, he did so impeccably: witness "le Vrai et le vraisemblable" an essay on Pushkin, and the story "Mademoiselle O", based on a family governess, and later included, in an Englished version of greater factual precison, in Nabokov's autobiography Speak,Memory. The first languages my father spoke were Russian and English, closely followed by French. The first in which he wrote was Russian.

Dmitri Nabokov

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