Vladimir Nabokov

RESEARCH: Can you read this?

By matthew_roth, 19 January, 2022


I am working on a research project and would like to know what VN (or someone) has written in the margin on the first notecard of the manuscript of the PF poem. A picture of the card is included in Boyd's VNAY, if you want to see for yourself, but I have attached a blown up image. The second word is clearly "canto" but the rest I can't read. Is it Russian? Any help you can give me would be much appreciated.

Matt Roth

Alexey Sklyarenko

2 years 5 months ago

Hello Matt,

Yes, the rest of the text is in Russian. I guess, I can make it out:


Кончать canto

не выше середины

страницы. Затем

чистую стр. [страницу?]


Finish the Canto

not higher than the middle

of the page. Then [begin]

a new p. [page?]


It looks like an instruction to the publisher of PF. But why is it in Russian?


Hope, this helps:)




2 years 5 months ago

That's very helpful. It wouldn't be an instruction to the printer, since the printer received a clean typescript that was made based on the notecards. Perhaps it was an instruction to the typist, Jaqueline Callier, but if so I don't know why it would be in Russian. Strange.


VN Margin_0.jpg (229.42 KB)