Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025885, Fri, 12 Dec 2014 19:19:55 -0200

Nabokov and Vera
<http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/10/22/who-what-when-rothman-book/> The
Most Generous Book in the World: An Illustrated Celebration of the
Little-Known Sidekicks Behind Creative Geniuses

by <http://www.brainpickings.org/author/mpopova/> Maria Popova

A heartening homage to the wives, mothers, brothers, benefactors, and other
quiet champions behind some of history’s most lebrated geniuses.



Véra Nabokov, 1902–1991; art by Thomas Doyle

Many of these electrifying batteries of support spring from great
romances.Paris Review contributor Lauren Acampora tells the story behind the
love of <http://www.brainpickings.org/tag/vladimir-nabokov/> Vladimir
Nabokov‘s life, thickly entwined with his momentous contribution to the
literary canon:

Their first meeting in 1923 was the stuff of legend: She wore a black satin
mask on a bridge in Berlin and recited his own poetry to him. From that
moment, the young writer Vladimir Nabokov felt that Véra Slonim was destined
to share his life. In one of the passionate letters of their courtship, he
wrote, “It’s as if in your soul there is a preprepared spot for every one of
my thoughts.” For the next fifty-four years, he was nearly inseparable from
the brilliant, elegant, and self-effacing woman who became Mrs. Nabokov.

Over the half-century that followed, Véra Nabokov dedicated her life to
bolstering her husband’s genius, in which she believed resolutely and which
she felt honored to nurture and protect — rumor even has it that she carried
a handgun in her purse to protect her husband from assassination at his
public appearances, which sounds decidedly less implausible given Véra
learned to shoot an automatic weapon as a teenager and was allegedly
involved in an assassination plot against a Soviet despot.

Acampora writes:

Among her many roles, Véra was amanuensis, translator, chief correspondent,
teaching assistant, literary agent, chauffeur, Scrabble partner, and
butterfly-catching companion. She was the first reader of all her husband’s
works, as well as critic, editor, and inspiration. Many suspected she had a
hand in the writing itself; some believed Véra was the true author.

Whether or not Véra authored any of the work will forever remain a matter of
speculation, but she did save her husband’s magnum opus from destruction on
several occasions when,
exasperated by its narrow-minded reception, he attempted to burn Lolita. She
was the first reader of all his work and his lifelong inspiration. The
inscription on every single one of his novels reads, simply, “To Véra.” So
intense was their psychic bond that they even shared the uncommon
neurological condition
synesthesia. When Nabokov’s obituary stated that “their dedication to each
other was total,” it was a statement of simple fact rather than bombast.

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