Department of Special Collections
Washington University Libraries
Washington University in St. Louis

Finding-Aid for the Vladimir Nabokov Papers (WTU00088)

Finding aid prepared by:
Special Collections Staff

Summary Information
Title: Vladimir Nabokov Papers
Creator: Nabokov, Vladimir, 1899-1977
Inclusive dates: 1958-1964.
Extent: 8 items
Call number: WTU00088
Language: English
Repository: Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO 63130

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Source of Collection:

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Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was born into a wealthy, landed family on April 23, 1899, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Educated at Cambridge, spending most of the his twenties and thirties in Berlin, Nabokov came to America in 1940. Already the author of a handful of novels written in his native Russian, he struggled to find a publisher for what would become his most famous novel, Lolita . After finally finding a publisher in the Olympia Press in Paris (1955), Nabokov went on to write many other celebrated novels, including Ada , Pnin , and Pale Fire . An accomplished translator in his own right, Nabokov not only translated some of his own Russian-language novels but also Russian classics, like Pushkin and Gogol. He spent the final fifteen years of his life in Switzerland, where he died in 1977.

Collection Scope and Content Note

Scope and Contents Note

Collection consists of correspondence, interviews, and articles. 1958: March 12. Vera Nabokov to Peter Russell writing on her husband’s behalf to inquiry on potential Nabokov materials for Russell’s Russian issue of Nine . Includes explanation of varying editions of Lolita in translation and expresses Nabokov’s opinions on translation, i.e., that he no longer believes in rhymed translations but on the literalness alone. Relates availability of other titles, etc. TLS, 1 p. 1958: May 19. Vera Nabokov to Russell thanking him for his letter and translation from Mandelshtam, etc., and reiterating that her husband believes only in absolutely literal prose translations. Adds comment that husbands believes Pound to be an exceptionally poor translator. TLS 1 p. 1959: June 7. Vera Nabokov to Russell announcing that her husband appreciates the spirit with with Russell accepted criticism of his translations and wishes him the best in his Russian efforts. Ms. addition to bottom of page in Vera’s hand denoting two word equivalents, Russian-English, indicating that one is used as husband’s title to a Gogol story. TLS 1 p. 1964: August 18. Ts. interview with Vladimir Nabokov by Jane Howard, Life magazine. Very heavy ts. and ms. revision and correction. 7 pp. Also ts. quotations by Nabokov as background material for Life article. Extremely heavy revision and correction. 8 pp. n.d. Ts. fact sheet on Nabokov’s current projects and publishing data. 1968: March 26. M. Cohn to William Matheson, explaining the origins and hand corrections in the interview ts. of Jane Howard. TLS[photocopy] 1 p. 1964: November 20. Clipping Life magazine article, "the Master of Versatility -- Vladimir Nabokov: Lolita, Languages, Lepidoptera." Includes photographs of Nabokov, wife, and son. 5 pp.

Subject Terms

  • Nabokov, Vladimir