People in Nabokov's life

We invite you to add names, material, and references! Please refer to the Chronology of Nabokov, Zimmer's Nabokov's Whereabouts and of course the famous VNRY and VNAY.



Abrams, Meyer H.: renowned American literary scholar, was N.’s colleague at Cornell (since 1948), VNAY 172, 220, 290, 311, 358

Abrams, Ruth: wife of M.H. Abrams, Nabokov would visit their house-parties, VNAY 220

Adamovich, Georgy: influential critic, Nabokov’s ‘staunchest foe’ in the Russian émigré circle, also disliked Khodasevich, VNRY 343-4, 350-1, 370-1, 415, 425 (also see VN’s note to his short story “Vasiliy Shishkov”)

Aldanov, Mark (Mark Landau): Russian émigré writer and critic, friend of VN, their 'sundry' correspondence, VNRY 391-3, 424-5, 480, 511; VNAY 15, 25, 39

Annan, Noel: provost at King’s college, Cambridge, sets up a banquet for VN on the British publication of Lolita, VNAY 399

Appel, Alfred, Jr.: Nabokov’s student at Cornell, later one of his leading critics, became a friend and a visitor at the Nabokov household, VNAY 257-9, 516, 521, 530-1, 608 (also see here).

Appel, Nina: Alfred Appel’s wife, also a student of Nabokov at Cornell, VNAY 530, 608

Aykhenvald, Yuly (B. Kamenetsky): Russian author of highly popular Silhouettes of Russian Writers, an important member of the Kadet Party along with VN’s father, VN’s friend and mentor during in his Berlin period, his acute literary criticism that appealed to N., VNRY 201, 229, 238, 272, 287-8 (also see here).

Nathaniel Banks
Thomas Barbour
General von Bardeleben
Sylvia Beach
Alexander Benois
Nina Berberova
Sylvia Berkman
Isaiah Berlin
Elizaveta Kogan-Bernstein
Sergey Bertenson
Alison Bishop
Morris Bishop
Max Black
Brian Boyd
Robert H. Boyle
Elena Bromberg
Herman Bromberg
Andree Bruel
Ivan Bunin
Robert Burness (English tutor)
Richard Austen Butler
Richard Buxbaum

Callier, Jaqueline: Nabokov first engaged her in 1961 to type up the commentary to Pale Fire. She later worked on typing out Ada, becoming their secretary in the process. Even after VN’s death, she continued to work with the Nabokovs’. Her ‘office’ was in Room 60 of the Nabokov suite in Montreux Palace Hotel. (VNAY 423, 563-4)

Calry, Count Robert Louis Magawly-Cerati: close friend of VN from Trinity College, Nabokov went on a trip to Switzerland in December 1921 with him, VNRY 168, 188

Chekhov, Mikhail: Russian-American actor, nephew of Anton Chekhov and a student of Konstantin Stanislavski. Nabokov had met him (in 1941) with the intention of adapting Don Quixote for the stage which would not come to fruition. (VNAY 23, 26)

Christiansen, Kenneth: a young student volunteer at Harvard M.C.Z. Nabokov encouraged his interest in dragonflies, explaining to him the complexities of taxonomy and classification. Later, he and his wife, Phyllis would visit Nabokov at the Montreux Palace Hotel to find him unfazed by fame. (VNAY 38, 526-7)

Christiansen, Phyllis: one of VN’s research assistants at Harvard M.C.Z. Both Phyllis and her husband, Kenneth had babysit Dmitri in 1940s. Later, they would spend a memorable evening at the Montreux Palace Hotel almost 20 years later. (VNAY 526-7)

Christopher: VN’s personal valet from his boyhood, VNRY 74

Ciardi, John: American poet and critic, taught Dmitri Nabokov at Harvard, VNAY 216

Covici, Pascal: Editor and publisher at the Viking Press. Covici was an enthusiastic admirer of VN’s work and Nabokov thought highly of him. VNAY 146, 210-1, 217, 255-6, 292, 367

Cowan, J Milton: American linguist, head of Cornell’s Modern Languages division, played tennis with Nabokov during his Cornell tenure, VNAY 124, 199

Crespi, Countess Vivian: friend of the Nabokovs’ from Switzerland, gave them a Russian Scrabble board, VNAY 508, 528.

Cross, Samuel Hazzard: head of Russian dept. at Harvard, one of VN’s bêtes noires, VNAY 69-70, 113.

Mr. Cummings: VN’s drawing master, had also taught his mother, Elena Nabokov, VNRY 75, 102-3.

Daiches, David: Scholar and literary critic, was the head of Literature at Cornell, Nabokov sets up a course in European Fiction 311-12 on his prompting, VNAY 138, 145, 205

Demidov, Igor: steadfast contributor of the journal Poslednie Novosti, VN met him in 1932, VNRY 391

Deprès, Claude: ‘Colette’ of First Love, VN’s first real romance at Biarritz in 1909, SM 149, VNRY 79

Dobuzhinsky, Mstislav Valerianovich: one of the most distinguished Russian painters and stage designers of his time, was Nabokov’s private tutor from 1912 to 1914, when "he made me depict from memory, in the greatest possible detail, objects I had certainly seen thousands of times without visualizing them properly: a street lamp, a postbox, the tulip design on the stained glass of our own front door", VNRY 103, SM 92-3

Drozdov, Alexandre: Russian writer, founded a journal Spolokhi (Northern Lights), later switched over to Nakanune (Soviet journal), penned a "vile" article on Sirin which caused much chagrin, VNRY 199-200, 203

Dupee, Frederick Wilcox: distinguished American literary critic, wrote a "long, scholarly piece on Lolita" in the Anchor Review upon its publication, VNAY 300, 314

Eastman, Max: American writer and translator, VN was reintroduced to him in a dinner at the Grynbergs’ in 1940, VNAY 20

Ellmann, Richard: one of the foremost American literary critics, VN met him in the spring of 1952, VNAY 216

Epstein, Barbara: Editor and co-founder of The New York Review of Books, wife of Jason Epstein, VNAY 492

Epstein, Jason: Editor and publisher, first at Doubleday, then at Random House, friend of Nabokov and his enthusiastic supporter, VNAY 264, 268, 296, 299-300, 306, 329, 361

Evreinov, Nikolai: Russian playwright and director, VN would play him in the hit play The Main Thing in May 1927, in 1932 Nabokov would dine at his home where he would detect a “mystical-Freudian-Goyaesque” milieu mingling with the cooking smells, VNRY 273, 391-2

Gordon Fairbanks
Anna Feigin (cousin of Vera Slonim)
Yuri Felzen
Andrew Field
Michele Field
Amalia Fondaminsky
Ilya Fondaminsky
Robert Frost
Louise Furrer

Theodore Geisel ("Dr. Seuss")
Penelope Gilliatt
Maurice Girodias
Herbert Gold
Mikhail Gorlin (student)
Graham Greene
Aleksandr Glikberg ("Sasha Chorny")
Savely Grinberg
Roman Grynberg
Irina Guadanini
Jorge Guillen

Philippe Halsman
Yvonne Halsman
James Harris
Francis Haskell
Vera Haskell
Franz Hellens
George Hessen
Iosif Hessen
Sergey Hessen
Sonia Hessen
Fred Hills
Vladimir Hippius (Russian Language school teacher)
Zinaïda Hippius
Evgenia Hofeld (Governess for Olga and Elena)
Henry Holt
Miss Rachel Home (1st English Governess)
Miss Hunt (Governess)
Stanley Edgar Hyman

Ivanov, Georgy: Russian poet and essayist, VN disliked his work, Ivanov wrote a spiteful review of VN’s work, long-standing literary disagreement, VNRY 260, 350-1, 370-1

Roman Jakobson
Alice James
William James Jr.
Altagracia de Jannelli
Randall Jarrell
Roy Jenkins
James Joyce

Mikhail Kalashnikov
Avgust Kaminka
Elizaveta Kaminka
Mikhail Kaminka
Sergey Kaplan
Simon Karlinsky
Mikhail Karpovich
Tatiana Karpovich
Alexander Kaun
Amy Kelly
Peter Kemeny
Alexander Kerensky
Vladislav Khodasevich
Alexander B. Klots
Roma Klyatchkin
Vera Kokoshkin
Vladimir Kozhevnikov
Solomon Samoylovich Krym
Stanley Kubrick
Alexander Kuprin
Gen. Aleksey Kuropatkin
Elizaveta Kuzmin-Karavaev (Mother Maria)
Samuel Kyandshuntsev 'Sava'

Antonin Ladinsky
Henry Lanz
Melvin Lasky
James Laughlin
Irving Lazar
Mary Lazar
Lucie Leon
Paul Leon
Alan Jay Lerner
Dorothy Leuthold
Elena Levin
Harry Levin
Andre Levinson
Gina Lollobrigida
Beverly Loo
Ivan Lukash
Peter Lubin
Eva Lubrzynska
Mikhail Lubrzynski
Robert Lutyens
Sue Lyon

Gabriel Marcel
Elizaveta Marinel
Ina Marinel
Marussya Marinel
James Mason
Vladimir Maximov
Mildred McAfee
Mary McCarthy
Paula McGuire
William McGuire
James Halliday McDunnough
Dmitri Merezhkovsky
Mlle. Cécile Miauton ("Mademoiselle O")
Charles Kerby-Miller
Wilma Kerby-Miller
Paul Milyukov
Arthur Mizener
Rosemary Mizener
Marilyn Monroe
Alberto Moravia
Peter Mrosovsky

Elena Ivanovna Nabokov, nee Rukavishnikov (mother)
Kirill Nabokov (brother)
Nicholas Nabokov (first cousin)
Nina Dmitrievna Nabokov (paternal aunt)
Olga Nabokov (sister)
Sergey Sergeevich Nabokov (cousin)
Sergey Vladimirovich Nabokov (brother)
Sofia 'Onya' Nabokov (cousin)
Véra Nabokov, nee Slonim (spouse)
Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov (father)
Magda Nachman
Viktor Nekrasov
Margaret Newstead
Martin Newstead
Nigel Nicolson

Okolokulak, Boris ("Max", "Linderovski"): tutor at the Nabokov household, his involvement in the Colette episode, VNRY 79, SM 158

Ordyntsev ("Ordo"): tutor at the Nabokov household, was dismissed quickly, VNRY 75, SM 155

Odoevtseva, Irina: Russian poet and wife of Georgy Ivanov, N. wrote a dismissive review of her first novel which drew a venomous response from her husband, VNRY 350

Osorgin, Mikhail: a journalist and a novelist, one of VN’s admirers in Paris, VN met him in 1932, VNRY 391

Countess Sofia Panin
Albert Parry
John Dos Passos
Jean Paulhan
Pedenko (tutor)
Agnes Perkins
Ivan de Peterson
Natalia de Peterson
Rostislav Petkevich (nephew)
Lydia von Peucker (aunt)
Nicholas von Peucker (uncle)
Nina Piotrovsky
Vladimir Korvin-Piotrovsky
Pirogov (chauffeur)
Bernard Pivot
Pelageya ("Polenka", family's head coachman's daughter)
Renato Poggioli
Alex Ponizovski
Grigoriy Popov (classmate)
V. S. Pritchett 
Carl Proffer
Ellendea Proffer

Sergey Rachmaninoff
Nikolay Raevsky
John Crowe Ransom
Florence Read
Frank Reade
Charles Remington
Jeanne Remington
Alain Robbe-Grillet
Catherine Robbe-Grillet
Miss Robinson (Governess)
Filippa Rolf
Nikita Romanov
Samuel Rosov
Harold Ross
Jane Rowohlt
Ledig Rowohlt
Ivan Vasilievich Rukavishnikov (maternal grandfather)
Maria Ferdinandovna Rukavishnikov, nee Baroness von Korff (maternal grandmother)
Olga Nikolaevna Rukavishnikov nee Kozlov (maternal grandmother)
Vassili 'Ruka' Rukavishnikov (maternal uncle)

Alexander Sak 'Shura'
Nikolay Sakharov ("Volgin")
May Sarton
Elizaveta Sayn-Wittgenstein (paternal aunt)
Michael Scammell
Arthur Schlesinger
Marion Schlesinger
Mark Schorer
Tatiana Segerkranz
Peter Sellers
David Selznick
Lauriston Sharp
Ruth Sharp
Miss Sheldon 'Viktoria Arturovna' ("Miss Clayton")
Marianna Shreiber
Valentina 'Lyussya' Shulgina ("Tamara"; Mashen'ka)
Nikolay Shustov
Svetlana Siewert (one-time fiance)
Tatiana Siewart
Elena Sikorski nee Nabokov (sister) 
Vladimir Sikorski (nephew)
Evsey Lazarevich Slonim (father-in-law)
Sonia Slonim (sister-in-law)
Slava Borisovna Slonim, nee Feigin (mother-in-law)
Zinaida Shakhovskoy
Konstantin Stanislavsky
Wallace Stegner
Isabel Stephens
Rockwell Stephens
Saul Steinberg
Gleb Struve
Jules Supervielle
Marc Szeftel

Alexander Tarasov-Rodionov
Raisa Tatarinov
Allen Tate
Frank Taylor
Bertrand Thompson
Lisbet Thompson
Lidia Tokmakov
Aleksey Tolstoy
Philip Toynbee
Baron Yuri Rausch von Traubenberg (cousin)
Marina Tsvetaeva

Ustinov, Peter: famous British actor, writer and performer in many media, VN met him in August 1961 in Montreux, VNAY 422-3, 468-9, 481

Ustinov, Suzanne: Canadian actress, the-then wife of Peter Ustinov, VNAY 422-3, 468-9

Veber, Georgy: a well-known historian, N.’s favourite teacher at school, in VN’s words: “the best teacher of history that I have ever met in any college or university in the world”, VNRY 102

Vinaver, Eugene: professor of French at University of Manchester, invites Nabokov to speak in Britain (April 1939), VNRY 507

Vinaver, Maxim: fellow party member of V.D. Nabokov, VNRY 63-4

Vishnyak, Mark: one of the editors at Sovremennye Zapiski, held VN’s writings in high regard, VNRY 261, 343, 391

Voloshin, Maximilian: Russian poet, introduced VN to Bely’s system of metrical analysis, VNRY 148-9

Aileen Ward
Hilda Ward
John Wayne
Edward Weeks
George Weidenfeld
Vladimir Weidle
Tuesday Weld
Herbert George Wells
George Wells
Ross Wetzsteon
E.B. White
Katherine A. White
Richard Wilbur
Edmund Wilson
Elena Wilson
Bart Winer
Shelley Winters
Yvor Winters

Yakovlev, Elena: sister of Nabokov’s close friend Mikhail Kaminka, later married to Nikolai, VNRY 255, 260, VNAY 582

Yakovlev, Nikolai: friend at the Nabokov family, a teacher of Russian literature and a contributor to the journal Rul’, VN was briefly involved in an anti-Bolshevist society set up by them, supplied VN a list of names of extinct Russian noble families, VNRY 192, 200, 255, 260-1, 404

Yaremich: “a well-known impressionist” from VN’s boyhood, one of his drawing teachers, VNRY 103

Boris Zaitsev
Evgenia Zalkind
Filip Zelenski ("Lenski" in Speak, Memory)
Vladimir Zenzinov
Maria Zetlin
Michael Zetlin
Vasili Zhernosekov (Russian language teacher, village schoolmaster at Rozhdestveno)
Dieter Zimmer