Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024791, Mon, 11 Nov 2013 19:41:36 -0200

Re: Pushkin, Vengerov, Chekhov & chess in ADA
A. Sklyarenko: [ ] "I suspect it was something about A. P. Chekhov's (not Vengerov's) death that made Nabokov give Vengerov that almost improbably long life.
In a letter of January 20, 1899, to his brother Ivan Pavlovich Chekhov speaks of his negotiations with the publisher Adolf Marx and mentions a telegram he sent Marx promising him to live not more than eighty years[ ] According to Sergeenko, Marx took Chekhov's words in his telegram at face value and the deal nearly collapsed"

Jansy Mello: The informations you bring up are always fascinating. There's a little item, related to Chekhov's promise to his publisher, that might be worthwhile to remember. It concerns an author who is often mentioned in ADA and who "mortgaged his tomb" (his autobiography) to earn his living. I mean Francois-Rene Chateaubriand. There's not a lot about his original publisher's qualms to be found on Wikipedia.* [ His memoirs not only encompassed 42 volumes but they also took him more than thirty years to complete - and he collected advance payments on them at different occasions] A more detailed, albeit informal, report can be read in "The Love Affair as a Work of Art" by Dan Hofstadter (already mentioned in the VN-L sometime in the past). This story might help one to understand why Marx could take Chekhov's words to the letter...

*- extracted from Wikipedia: Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia): Francois-Rene, vicomte de Chateaubriand (4 September 1768 – 4 July 1848) was a French writer, politician, diplomat and historian. He is considered the founder of Romanticism in French literature. Descended from an old aristocratic family from Brittany [ ] It is his autobiography Memoires d'outre-tombe ("Memoirs from Beyond the Grave'", published posthumously 1848–1850), however, that is nowadays generally considered his most accomplished work.[ ]Born in Saint-Malo, the last of ten children, Chateaubriand grew up in his family's castle in Combourg, Brittany. His father, Rene de Chateaubriand (1718–86), was a former sea captain turned ship owner and slave trader [ ] Chateaubriand grew up in an atmosphere of gloomy solitude, only broken by long walks in the Breton countryside and an intense friendship with his sister Lucile.
Memoires d'Outre-Tombe - literally "Memoirs from Beyond the Grave" - is an autobiography in 42 volumes by Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand, published posthumously in 1848 [ ] The work abounds in instances of the poetic prose at which Chateaubriand excelled. On the other hand, the melancholy of the autobiography helped establish Chateaubriand as the idol of the young French Romantics[ ] Chateaubriand made the decision to write his memoirs in Rome at the close of 1803; nevertheless, he did not begin writing them until 1809, and even then found his progress slowed by numerous other projects. In 1817 he returned to the memoirs[ ]did not reach completion until 1826. At this point, he intended to entitle the book Memories of My Life.In 1830, however, Chateaubriand decided to change the scope of the work, revising the title to Memoires d'Outre-Tombe, making a thorough revision of the original text, and writing several new volumes. He divided his life before 1830 into three periods: soldier and traveler, novelist, and statesman [ ] After fragmented public readings of his work in salons, in 1836 Chateaubriand yielded the rights to his work to a society that published it until his death, paying him accordingly. Having obtained this economic stability, he completed the work with a fourth set of volumes. In 1841 he wrote an ample conclusion. Chateaubriand had originally intended to have the work published at least fifty years after his death, but his financial troubles forced him, in his words, "to mortgage his tomb."

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