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Véra: Ein Leben Mit Vladimir Nabokov Stacy Schiff

Véra: Ein Leben Mit Vladimir Nabokov

Stacy Schiff

Published
ISBN : 9783462028423
639 pages
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 About the Book 

She was wearing a black satin mask when they first met in 1923, and in a sense she wore a mask--that of the dutiful wife and helpmeet--throughout their 52-year marriage. Especially after the American publication of Lolita made her husband notoriousMoreShe was wearing a black satin mask when they first met in 1923, and in a sense she wore a mask--that of the dutiful wife and helpmeet--throughout their 52-year marriage. Especially after the American publication of Lolita made her husband notorious in 1958, Véra Nabokovs presence at her husbands side was crucial, writes her biographer Stacy Schiff: [It] kept the fiction in its place, reassured readers ... that Nabokovs perversities were of a different kind. But Véra Slonim (1902-91) was essential to Vladimir Nabokovs literary career from the beginning. She had a gift for handling practical matters that her spouse proudly lacked- she screened him from his publishers and his admirers with equal firmness, and in doing so she liberated him to fulfill the artistic genius they both believed he possessed. Praised for a previous biography of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Schiff here cements her reputation as a literary biographer of striking subtlety and perceptiveness. She establishes a strong base in chapter 1 with her excellent analysis of Véra Slonims youth in a privileged Russian Jewish family in St. Petersburg. She then pursues her subjects elusive personality through hints in Nabokovs work and the comments of friends and colleagues. Schiffs elegant prose and eye for nuance nearly match Nabokov himself in this lucid, unsentimental portrait of a marriage. --Wendy Smith