Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004631, Tue, 14 Dec 1999 10:51:15 -0800

St. Petersburg Nabokov Museum's report:1999-2000
EDITOR's NOTE. The Nabokov family home on 47 Bolshaya Morskaya St. is now
the Nabokov Museum. If you are in Petersburg, it is well worth a visit. In
addition to its museum function, the center presents an on-going series of
programs and conferences. As the report below makes clear, the Nabokov
Centennial has been a banner year for the Museum.
If you have questions, please address them Olga Voronina. She and other
senior staff members speak English.
From Olga Voronina <olvor@spb.city>, Deputy Director of the St. Petersburg
Nabokov Museum
>The St. Petersburg intelligentsia likes to joke that a “partial literary
>eclipse” took place in 1999, when Vladimir Naboko'’s centennial was
>celebrated, because Nabokov “outshone” not only some of his
>contemporaries such as Olesha and Vaginov, but even Pushkin, whose
>bicentennial Russia also marked this year. As a Russian proverb has it,
>thereÂ’s always a grain of truth in every joke. This year has indeed
>proved to be very productive for the Nabokov Museum in St. Petersburg.
>The museum organized and conducted a wide range of cultural events,
>underwent a series of renovations, and launched a number of projects,
>which will ensure its future, both creatively and financially. The
>following report outlines the museumÂ’s activities in 1999 and gives a
>sketch of its plans for 2000.
>January-March, 1999. Preparation of the International Nabokov Centennial
>Festival; fundraising campaign for the Centennial. International guests
>were invited. The museumÂ’s staff worked on organizing the International
>Pushkin and Nabokov Conference, Centennial exhibitions, theater
>productions, and soirees.
>February – March, 1999. A series of lectures by Boris Averin and Vadim
>Stark on Vladimir Nabokov'Â’s Russian novels took place on Wednesday
>March 1999. The “Nabokov and Foreign Countries” project was launched.
>The “Nabokov and England” program, the first in the series, included an
>art exhibition, a round table, and a soiree.
>April 10-25, 1999. The International Nabokov Centennial Festival,
>organized by the Nabokov Museum, took place in St. Petersburg. The
>Alexandrinsky Drama Theater, the Lensoveta Theater, the Russian National
>Library, the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkinski Dom), the St.
>Petersburg Center of Books and Graphic Arts, the ComposersÂ’ Union, the
>House of Scientists, and the Nabokov Estate Museum in the Gatchina
>Region were among the participants of the Centennial. Donald Barton
>Johnson, Brian Boyd, Charles Nicol, Serena Vitale, Alexander Blok, other
>prominent Nabokov scholars and writers, and many relatives of Vladimir
>Nabokov participated in various Centennial events. The Centennial
>Celebrations included exhibition openings, theater productions, poetry
>readings, the international “Pushkin and Nabokov” conference, and a gala
>concert dedicated to Vladimir Nabokov. At the museumÂ’s first gift-givin
>ceremony, Terry Myers donated to the Nabokov Museum 18 items of Nabokov
>memorabilia, including first editions of “Lolita”, “Mary”, and “T
>Defense”. The St. Petersburg Nabokov Foundation presented the Russian
>translation of Nabokov’s “Commentary to Eugene Onegin”, published
>“Iskusstvo-SPb”, while the “Symposium” Publishing Company announced the
>publication of the final, fifth, volume in its “Collected Works by
>Vladimir Nabokov: the American Period” series. In April-May, 1999, 4 T
>companies, 12 radio stations, 5 information agencies, and 50 newspapers
>and magazines broadcast and printed information about the Nabokov
>Centennial in St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Nabokov Museum.
>June 16, 1999. For the first time in Russia, Bloomsday was celebrated.
>The Nabokov Museum organized a full-day program dedicated to James
>Joyce. The “Mit’ki” Art Group, actors from the Maly Drama Theater, and
>Irish folk music groups participated in the program. More than 300
>visitors, mostly young people, attended various Bloomsday events. The
>reading of “Ulysses” went on for 9 hours, and there also was a
>“Bloomian” art exhibition and a “white night” beer party sponsored by
>Guinness. The event was so popular that the Nabokov Museum has decided
>to celebrate Bloomsday every year as well as to organize programs
>dedicated to Shakespeare, Proust, Kafka, Cervantes, and other authors
>esteemed by Nabokov.
>July, 1999. The Summer Nabokov Readings consisted of 5 lectures, 2 round
>tables, and several seminars. Brian Boyd, Alexander Dolinin, Saveli
>Senderovitch, Elena Schwartz, and other scholars gave lectures at the
>Nabokov Museum. St. Petersburg college and university students and
>intelligentsia participated in the academic program as well as in the
>gift-giving ceremony, where Brian Boyd presented the museum with two of
>NabokovÂ’s jackets and a pair of shoes. An exhibition of antique post
>cards from the collection of Vadim Stark and Natalia Teletova opened in
>the small exhibition hall. The cards bore images of the places either
>visited by Vladimir Nabokov or described in his novels and short
>stories. The fourth issue of the “Nabokovski Vestnik” was presented.
>September, 1999. The Nabokov Museum began to put together a web-site.
>Two commercial programs, “Gallery” and “Bookstore”, were launched. Final
>preparations for the “Nabokov and Germany” program took place.
>October, 1999. Repairs and renovations at the Nabokov Museum. The
>library and the Green Sitting Room were turned into exhibition halls,
>the Green Room was equipped with glass-cases for keeping rare books and
>with new lights. The money for the repairs came from the sponsors of the
>“Nabokov and Germany” program.
>October 18, 1999. As part of the “Gallery” project, an exhibition
>of Andrei ChezhinÂ’s photography opened at the Nabokov Museum.
>October 22-25. The international “Nabokov and Germany” program took
>place at the museum and at other locations throughout St. Petersburg (8
>cultural institutions participated in the program). The program included
>3 exhibitions, 4 theater productions, 2 lectures, a mini-festival of
>German films from the 20s and 30s, and the international “Nabokov and
>Germany” academic conference. Dieter Zimmer, Annelore
>Engel-Braunschmidt, Daniela Rippl, Nassim Balestrini, and Igor Smirnov
>were among the programÂ’s German participants. The conference discussion
>focused on “Nabokov’s dislike of Germany” (the title of Dieter Zimmer’s
>paper) as well as on the influence of German culture on the art of
>Vladimir Nabokov.
>November, 1999. The Nabokov Museum worked on preparing the museumÂ’s
>web-site (to open in January, 2000). The museum administration planned a
>trip to the US to conduct business meetings and negotiations as well as
>to open the “Friends of the Nabokov Museum” Club (February, 2000). New
>projects were outlined: “Jazz: More than Just Music”, a chess project,
>and the “Nabokov Library” project.
>December, 1999 – January, 2000. “Christmas at Nabokov House” begins on
>December 22. Three exhibitions will open, including a childrenÂ’s
>“Christmas dolls” exhibition and an exhibition of contemporary
>hand-printed books. The Christmas tree, decorated with hand-made
>ornaments, will come from the Nabokov estate in Rozhdestveno. The museum
>is planning to organize a series of childrenÂ’s Christmas and New YearÂ’s
>parties. On December 17, the St. Petersburg “Osobnyak” Theater will give
>its first production of “Laughter in the Dark” at the Nabokov Museum. On
>December 22, there will be an evening of music and poetry. On January
>13, 2000, the Nabokov Museum will celebrate Sebastian KnightÂ’s 100th
>birthday with a poetry reading and a reception for the city's literary
>community. This "literary mystification" event will include a recital of
>several poems that have been "recently discovered" by Alexei Purin,
>poetry editor of "Zvezda" magazine, as well as of a number of poetic
>"dedications" to Sebastian Knight. According to the Nabokov novel,
>Sebastian Knight was born on December 31, 1899, but as the New Year is
>the biggest winter holiday in Russia, the museum decided to move the
>birthday party 13 days forward to bridge the difference between the "old
>style" and "new style" Russian calendars.
>In 2000, the Nabokov Museum plans to:
>Conduct two more programs in the "Nabokov and the Foreign Countries"
>series ("Nabokov and France" - May, 2000; "Nabokov and the USA" -
>October, 2000).
>Present the Nabokov Museum web-site. - January, 2000.
>Launch the "Nabokov Library" project, which will involve extensive
>fundraising and issuing appeals to Nabokov scholars, Russian and foreign
>publishing companies and magazines, writers, and book collectors for
>books and periodicals. The museum is planning to collect a multi-lingual
>library dedicated to Vladimir Nabokov's work and to modern trends in
>philology and literary criticism. No such library exists in St.
>Petersburg; and so it would become not only a tribute to Vladimir
>Nabokov, but also a means of attracting new visitors to the Nabokov
>Museum (students, young scholars, and educators) - March, 2000.
>Celebrate Vladimir Nabokov's 101th birthday with a series of lectures
>and theater productions at the Nabokov Museum. The museum is planning to
>exhibit rare childrenÂ’s books from the 1890s - 1910s, some of which are
>mentioned by Vladimir Nabokov in his novels and in “Speak, Memory” -
>April, 2000.
>Publish the museum's tourist catalogue – Spring, 2000.
>Launch the museum's tourist program for foreign tourists who come to St.
>Petersburg to visit both the city and Nabokov sites - June, 2000.
>Conduct another James Joyce Bloomsday celebration on June 16, 2000.
>Continue working on preparing a "Literary Award", a "Writer's Program",
>and a "Nabokov Curriculum" study-abroad program for students.
>Mount several art exhibitions at the museum art gallery and organize a
>number of concerts and soirees - January-December, 2000.
>Prepare and conduct a program dedicated to chess - November 2000 -
>January, 2001.