The director of the Pushkin House of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Valentin Golovin, called the return of the home archive of the writer Vladimir Nabokov from Montreux, Switzerland, to Russia an unprecedented event for Russian culture. He stated this during a press conference on Monday, November 8.
Golovin recalled that in recent years Russia has received two similar gifts: the collection of Joseph Brodsky, donated to the Akhmatova Museum, and the archive of Vladimir Nabokov.
“This has not happened since 1926, when the largest émigré collection of Pushkin memorials, which belonged to the émigré collector Alexander Otto) Fedorovich Onegin, was transferred to Russia,” he said.
Negotiations with the International Nabokov Society, he said, were difficult, with a lot of legal and customs subtleties, but generally positive.
“Now the collection is at the stage of quarantine storage and description,” concluded Golovin.
On November 11, St. Petersburg will host the grand opening of the exhibition “Vladimir Nabokov. Return”. The exposition will be a response to the huge interest that attracted the archive of the author of “Lolita” and “Invitation to Execution”.
Nabokov’s unique home archive consists of 10 thousand items, including lifetime editions, books from the personal library with notes by the author, correspondence with contemporaries, in particular, with the Tolstoy family, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Gleb Struve, as well as drafts of a large, but unpublished work “Butterflies in Art”. The collection was kept in Montreux for many years, but the International Society of Vladimir Nabokov (USA) donated it to the Pushkin House. The donation procedure took about two years.
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