Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0017970, Tue, 17 Mar 2009 15:26:48 -0400

Re: Martin Gardner
[Dear Editors--if you have not sent my prior message re Martin Gardner,
please delete it. If you have please run this corrected, more complete
version anyway.]

In the interest of greater accuracy than my faulty memory can provide on its
own, here is an excerpt from a spring 2008 interview I did with Martin
Gardner, longtime columnist for *Scientific American* and author of *The
Annotated Alice*, among many other titles:

Q: Did you and Vladimir Nabokov know each other?

A: No, I never met him. I exchanged letters with his wife.

Q: Was that before or after Pale Fire?

A: I think that was after *Pale Fire*.

Q: How did you come to quote John Shade in *The Ambidextrous Universe*?

A: I read the book and I liked it… You know he mentions me in his book *Ada*.
Did you know about that?

He was probably annoyed because when I quoted from the poem, I didn’t credit
it to him, I credited it to his imaginary novelist [sic].

Q: But then he credited you as an invented philosopher--

A: And he misspelled my name! I don’t know if he did it on purpose or


Q: So you didn’t know Nabokov personally, but did you have other literary

A: Isaac Asimov was a fan, and I got to know him fairly well as a result.

I hope this is of interest to at least some members of the list.


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