NABOKV-L post 0006002, Fri, 1 Jun 2001 09:43:05 -0700

Subject
[Mrs Pearsall and Nabokov???
Date
Body
EDITOR's NOTE. See below.

Benjamin Dodds wrote:

> This message was originally submitted by benjamin.dodds@DURHAM.AC.UK to the
> NABOKV-L list at LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU.

> ----------------- Message requiring your approval (28 lines) ------------------
> Yesterday's 'Independent' (31 May) contains a review of a biography
> entitled 'Mrs P's Journey' by Sarah Hartley. The subject of the
> biography is Phyllis Pearsall who single handledly compiled the first
> London A to Z from a bedsit in Horseferry Road. Pearsall was educated at
> the Sorbonne and David Vincent's review refers to her "fellow boarder
> ... a young leonine Russian named Vladimir Nabokov".
>
> It's rather difficult to imagine Nabokov sharing accommodation with
> someone who later rose at five every morning and filled twenty-six shoe
> boxes with London street names.
>
> I know no further details and haven't seen Hartley's book. It does not
> sound promising, though, since Vincent mentions Hartley's "whimsical
> approach and intrusive manner" and judges that the book "makes for
> pleasant, if undemanding, company".
>
> Ben Dodds
>
> --
> Ben Dodds
> College of St Hild and St Bede, Durham
> Trinity School volunteering project:
> http://www.durham.ac.uk/trinity.school/default.htm
> Medieval history: http://www.durham.ac.uk/benjamin.dodds/default.htm

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NABOKV-L thanks Mr. Dodds for this oddity. It is not clear whether the alledged
collocation was in Paris or London. If at all, it most likely would have been in
Paris 1937-1940 since his stays in London (1919-1922) were brief. See ZEMBLA's
"Homes and Haunts" section at
<http://www.libraries.psu.edu/iasweb/nabokov/nsintro.htm>. If someone examines the
reviewed book, please provide details. Describing VN('s hair?) as "leonine" seems a
stretch. With Ben Dodds, I suspect an attack of whimsy by the bio author or the
reviewer. Scholarship marches on!