From Tolstoy to Norman Mailer, famous writers have made infamous husbands. But perhaps the greatest writer of his time, Vladimir Nabokov, is the great exception. He was the most married man in literature since Robert Browning met Elizabeth Barrett; his wife Vera Slonim Nabokov makes a great story on her own — all the more because she was inseparable from him.
Russian born as he was, Vera met Nabokov in Berlin in the twenties, migrated with him through France in the 30s to the US in the 40s. She was not just his muse, guardian, editor and translator; not just the lecturer’s assistant, note-taker and marker of student papers when Nabokov taught at Wellesley and Cornell; not just the woman who saved his Lolita manuscript. Beyond all of this, she was part of his conjuring career, in which the marriage along with the books was a work of high art.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Biographer Stacy Schiff