Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002386, Fri, 26 Sep 1997 10:25:46 -0700

Re: LOLITA's "Chestnut Lodge" (fwd)
EDITOR'S NOTE. Galya Diment, author of the observation below, is the
author of a new book PNINIAD: Vladimir Nabokov and Marc Szeftel (Seattle &
London: U. of Washington Press, 1997). Russian historian Szeftel, long a
colleague of VN at Cornell, served (in part) as a model for VN's character
Pnin. He also wrote extensively in his diaries about his relation with his
more successful co-exile.

This message was originally submitted by galya@U.WASHINGTON.EDU to the
This is more in response to Sylvia's and Peter Kartsev's messages than the
debate at hand.

Gleb Struve remembered an evening of Nabokov poetry reading in Berlin,
which I mention in my book. I did not quote directly from Struve's letter
there but I do have it. He does suggest the poetry was mostly "dirty," and
of it only Lilith was published later. He also says that he never talked
of this episode in his published reminiscences because he did not want to
offend Vera Nabokov's feelings. (That evening of poetry apparently took
place before the Nabokovs were married). We also know that while Vera
was aghast at Wilson's attempt to supply her husband with occasional
pornographic books, VN appears to have never said no to them. According to
Peter Kahn, whom I quote in my book, VN's favorite Book & Bowl session was
"How to Look at Nudes -- with Slides," which Kahn himself presented.

As we often do with other things that VN said in published interviews, I
would take his statements about his distaste for things "bawdy" with a
reasonably-sized grain, and even pinch, of salt.

Galya Diment