Vera: Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov
by Stacy Schiff
In 1925 Vera and Vladimir Nabokov, both Russian refugees, married in Berlin. His family was ruined and hers was about to be. From that year they were ... Show synopsis In 1925 Vera and Vladimir Nabokov, both Russian refugees, married in Berlin. His family was ruined and hers was about to be. From that year they were inseparable. Friends, colleagues, relatives and publishers all agreed he would have been nowhere without her. Even when the marriage nearly foundered due to another woman, Nabakov wrote to his wife daily. She attended her husband's lectures replacing him when he was sick, drive the Buick in which he write Lolita and saved the manuscript several times from burning. She negotiated his contracts, corrected her husband's stories in German, his memoir in French and his poetry in Italian and translated "Pale Fire" into Russian when she was in her 80s. Yet at the same time she tried to erase herself from the public record: for several years she answered her husband's letters under an assumed name and she demanded that her husband's biographers ignore the vital role she played in his life and work. For Nabakov himself her influence was undeniable, he lit up around her and the two acted as if they were a pair of children hiding their secrets from the rest of the world. He wrote his novels for himself first, second for Vera and third for no one at all.