Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001342, Tue, 8 Oct 1996 10:37:27 -0700

Dmitri Nabokov interview in Russia(June, 1995)
EDITOR'S NOTE. Dmitri Nabokov made his first visit to Russia in June of
1995. He was interviewed by Petersburg journalist Nadezhda Kozhevnikova.
In the xerox copy available to me, neither the name of the paper, nor the
date or page is to be found, although the paper is identified as _NV_
(Novoe vremya, Nevskoe vremya??) If any NABOKV-L subscriber can provide
more exact bibliographic data, it would be much appreciated. In the
following I have excerpted and translated a few items I thought to be of
particular interest to NABOKV-L readers. A more general account of DN's
trip may be found in English in the French journal CYCNOS (vol. 12, n.2
1995, pp. 191-193) under the title "White Nights, Forty Degrees Celsius
(Some remarks as read by a kind proxy in Nice, June 1995)".
DN: "I have finished my first novel which will, I hope, appear
shortly. Possibly in England. It is written in English under a Scottish
pseudonym. Who hides behind the pseudonym will forever remain unknown.
But if it is a success... Thus I shall avoid being either praised or
excoriated to no purpose
Any invented story can refract personal impressions. Especially
when it is a first novel. But this one is entirely "made-up," an original
work. One would like to think that, as they say in America, "it flew on its
own wings" and did not take advantage of my father's name."

In answer to the question about his parents career ambitions for
him... "My parents always reckoned that one must do at least one thing
well. Be it law, singing, literature, scholarship, business... And they
suggested that legal affairs might be a good choice. A singing career was
less dependable. But I didn't become an attorney, and the singing turned out
very well. My parents were very proud and came to of my performances
whenever they could. Even though, on the whole, my father was not a
passionate music lover."
Interviewer: "Which of your father's books do you most like?" DN: "I
might prefer _Pale Fire_. I love _Ada_. I adore _Lolita_. The stories and

DN: "I remember many facets of my father, many occasions. Right after his
death my strongest impression was how he looked as a patient in bed. But,
more generally, I remember him as slender, athletic, suntanned, carrying me
on the beach at Mentone. I recall how he played tennis and hiked in the
mountains with me. Or else how he made up fables, stories, and poems,
especially for me. If there had been tape recorders then, what a joy it
would have been to record all that."
Referring to his father's unpublished writings:
DN: ""...very little remained at his death. Only one unfinished novel
which he ordered burned. But it is a hard discision which I have not yet
made. I'll think about it for a while yet."

D. Barton Johnson
Department of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Studies
Phelps Hall
University of California at Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Phone and Fax: (805) 687-1825
Home Phone: (805) 682-4618