Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000304, Fri, 22 Jul 1994 15:56:30 -0700

VN & Wilson
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following response to my comments (and those of earlier
correspondents) on Jeffrey Meyers' article is of particular interest since
its author, DAvid Slavitt, was acquainted with both VN and Wilson.
My thanks to Mr. Slavitt for catching my quaint transposition of
John Peale Bishop into one John Bishop Peale. DBJ
It wasn't John Bishop Peale but John Peale Bishop, an eminent
American poet rather ignored these days.
Wilson's explicit comment to me was that as a Princetonian, he
had "seen to" getting the work of his classmates and college friends
published. What he had done for Bishop and for Fitzgerald. I should do,
he suggested, for Edgar Bogartus (a very good but now fairly obscure Yale
poet who was, briefly, poetry editor of the Kenyon Review and who had
recently dies from the fumes ofa malfunctioning furnace).
One has a quite different sense of his friendship with VN who was
NOT a college chum.
This enthusiasm Wilson had for VN is perfectly understandable.
Nabokov was a man of great talent and very considerable charm. The
interesting thing is not the enthusiasm but the break up. I have always
assumed that Nabokov disapproved of EW's enthusiam for Pasternak's novel,
and that N must have made some crack that W resented. (Wilson was not
accustomed to being treated like a dummy.) The self regard of both of
these men was not inconsiderable, and it is as easy as it is sad to
imagine their annoying each other.

David R. Slavitt
TEL: (215) 382-3994