As a very minor footnote to Matt Roth's neat discovery of the Wilson poem, I wanted to send along another item in which language from VN's relationship with Wilson makes an appearance in a Nabokov novel.
In Jeffrey Meyers' Edmund Wilson: A Biography, Meyers notes that Nabokov used the term "a salad of racial genes" (p. 286) to describe Wilson's fourth and last wife, Elena Mumm Thornton, who was German and Russian. The phrase, of course, is the same that HH uses to describe his father in Lolita.
The quote is not sourced, so it's not clear exactly when Nabokov said it, though it's included in the 1946-49 section of the book. Another Wilson biographer, Lewis Dabney, says that Thornton was already known to Nabokov's family via Russian emigre circles. Meyers adds that Thornton's "grandfather had been the Russian ambassador to Japan, the Netherlands and the United States; the women in the family had been ladies-in-waiting at the Czarina's court." And in a chapter of The American Years devoted to the same period, Boyd reports both Nabokovs liking Elena.
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