NABOKV-L post 0006032, Mon, 18 Jun 2001 10:03:21 -0700

Subject
Zinaida Shakhovskaya died in Paris on June 11, 2001
Date
Body
EDITOR's NOTE. NABOKV-L thanks Galya Korovina for translating and
sending in the item below. The Shchakhovsky family played a rather large
role in the life of the emigre community. Zinaida's brother, the
Archbishop Ioann, died here in Santa Barbara about ten years ago.
------------------------------------


From Galya Korovina, New York
galya_korovina@yahoo.com

Zinaida Shakhovskaya died on June 11, 2001 in Paris, in a residence for
the
elderly.

Lenta-Ru Russian news agency, quoting AFP (Agence France Presse),
issuedthe
following notice in Russian:

Princess Zinaida Shakhovskaya, one of the most eminent Russian
emigres,died
on Monday. She was 95. Princess Shakhovskaya died at her home in
Paris.
Zinaida Shakhovskaya was born in Moscow, and after the Revolution she
and
other members of her family emigrated to France. During the World War
II
she joined the French Resistance movement, and after the war for some
time
she lived in Moscow, where her husband worked for the Belgian embassy.
She
cultivated friendship with MarinaTsvetayeva, was a well-known emigre
writer,
and at one point was the Editor-in-Chief of Russkaya Mysl newspaper (
Russian Thought, a Paris-based Russian language newspaper). In one of
her
last interviews at the beginning of 2001, Zinaida Shakhovskaya said that
she
had exceeded her allotted span on earth and was happy to realize that
she
was going to die soon.

Zinaida Shakhovskaya met Vladimir Nabokov in 1932, through her sister
Natalie
Shakhovskaya, who was married to Nabokov's cousin, composer Nikolas
Nabokov.
At first they were goodfriends. In 1936 in Brussels Nabokov stayed with

Zinaida Shakhovskaya and her husband, they exchanged many letters, she
helped
to arrange Nabokov's public readings in Brussels, at Nabokov's request
looked
after his younger brother Kirill, she and her husband visited the
Nabokovs in
Menton in 1937. That same year, 1937, she published in French, in the
Belgian
newspaper La Cite Chretienne, an enthusiastic article about Nabokov:
The
Master of Russian Literature Vladimir Nabokov-Sirin. She quoted in her
book
on Nabokov his letter to her, stating that he had read this article with

interest and tender emotion, and that the article was very well written,
very
clever and perceptive. However, Zinaida Shakhovskaya's relations with
Vera
were mostly strained and gradually deteriorated to the point
where Shakhovskaya openly displayed her hostile attitude, blaming Vera
for
alienating Nabokov from Russian culture and Christian values. In 1959
she
published in Paris, in La Revue des Deux Mondes, under the pen name
Jacques
Croise, an article Nabokov, or "The Wound of Exile" In this article she

resented Lolita and Nabokov's fame, tore apart his work and claimed that
a
spiritual desert ruined his true talent. Nabokov found this article
offensive.
In Paris, at avery crowded Lolita reception at the Gallimard publishing

house on October 23, 1959, which Shakovskaya attended as a member of the

press, she was about to hug Nabokov when he looked her straight in the
eye
and uttered a perfunctory"Bonjour, Madame". Shakhovskaya felt the slight

was intentional, whereas it was most likely a symptom of the same
distraction
Nabokov had manifested on campus when Vera's cues had so often saved him
from
social disasters(StacySchiff, Vera).

In I979 Zinaida Shakhovskaya published in La Presse Libre in Russian a
book
_V poiskakh Nabokova_ (In Search of Nakokov). As she wrote in her
introduction, she always wanted to write a book on Nabokov, and planned
to
structure it around the 64 letters that Nabokov had written to her.
However,
due tocopyright laws it turned out to be impossible to publish these
letters,
and shere structured her book, revealing in the title her intent to show
the
real Nabokov, who played hide-and-seek with his readers his entire life,

and continuedt o do so after his death. This is a biased book, so to
say, a
contra book, according to the classification used by the currently very
popular in Russia _Pro et Contra_series on famousauthors and thinkers.

Copies of Nabokov's letters to Shakovskaya were exhibited, with her
permission, at the Nabokov Centenary Exhibition at Radio Liberty,
Prague. This
exhibition was curated by Ivan Tolstoy, and also included, among other
things,
Tolstoy's private collection of Nabokov's first editions. As Tolstoy
wrote
in Shakhovskay's obituary notice in Novoye Russkoye Slovo, a New
York-based
Russian language newspaper, after perestroika Shakhovskaya was widely
published in Russia, accepting publication offers from whoever, and was
duped
a lot. She did not know, and probably did not want to know the real
Russia,
she shunned hard, unpleasant, unesthetical truth about her Motherland
and its
people. She mixed up, often unconsciously, Russian ideas and the Russian
way
of life, applying the ideas of the bygone epoch to the present day
morals
and manners. That is, she had a perception of a foreign writer. And
with
this drama in her soul, deeply insulted by that in her old age,
cantankerous
and vocal, she departed to the residence for elderly to live out her
long life
95years ⌠ almost a century.

Zinaida Shakhovskaya's death so far has not made big news in Moscow, but
for a
radio announcement and the Lenta-Ru notice above. Incidently, she had
always
corrected those who called her knyaginya Shakhovskaya, that is,
aprince's
wife, explaining that she used to be knyazhna Shakhovskaya -- a prince's

unmarried daughter.в─² (Both words are "Princess" in English.) This
would
have probably been the last straw for her: in her Lenta-Ru obituary she
is
called knyaginya Shakhovskaya.