VN COLLATION #13
by Suellen Stringer-Hye
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
Vanderbilt University
stringers@library.vanderbilt.edu

Another collation--this one covers June, July and August of 1995. I would like to publicly thank Andrey Ustinov for his assistance in compiling these materials. A collection of Nabokov citations on the Internet is now under production. The anecdotes below were gathered from an international selection of newspapers and magazines.

Scanning the pages of the newspapers for Nabokov's name has been confounded by the appearance of Dimitri Nabokov, a young hockey player from Moscow, whose prowess on ice has made him the number 1 draft choice of the Chicago Hawks. Only one reporter made the connection between the novelist and the hockey player uniting the two this way:

No. 1 draft choice says he is not related to the great Russian novelist, but in his own way Dimitri Nabokov is as precocious as his namesake Vladimir's most famous character, Lolita.

The Daily Mirror on July 7, 1995 ran this headline:

" HUGH LOSES LOLITA; PROSTITUTE INCIDENT LOSES HUGH GRANT LOLITA FILM ROLE "

Apparently Hugh Grant was being considered for the role of Humbert which Jeremy Irons is now slated to play. But Hugh Grant's connection to Nabokov is deeper... Alison Pearson reports:

... a friend of Hugh Grant's ... told me something strange. Wherever Hugh went, the friend said, he took the novels of Vladimir Nabokov. Hugh was a Nabokov nut....

Several books have appeared in the last few months in which Nabokov is either featured or noted:

Weidenfeld, George Remembering my Good Friends (London : Harper Collins Publishers, c1994. )
The reviewer said that the book: ...sparkles Lures-like throughout with such gossipy glimpses. Chums like Vladimir Nabokov....

Mitgang, Herbert Words Still Count With Me: A Chronicle of Literary Conversations. Norton (300 pp.) $ 25.00 Sept. 1995

These uniformly short and personable interviews (typically without any agenda) are more simply conversations. Nabokov and Beckett, for instance, refused to be quoted but talked so affably, the encounters resulted nonetheless in lively portraits. ...

The author of a much praised biography of Antoine de Saint-Exupery (The Little Prince) has submitted a proposal and, according to the newpaper account, received a hefty six-figure advance for her next book - a biography of Véra Nabokov.

Stacy Schiff was born in 1960 in Adams, Mass. Her mother was a French teacher, her father a businessman. She attended Andover, graduated from Williams college and majored in philosophy and art history. After graduation she became an editor, successively for Viking Press, Poseidon Books, and Pocket Books.

In 1990, she left her editor's job, married a Frenchman, and settled down to a life of writing books and raising children.... Now, she is working on a biography of Véra Nabokov, wifeof Russian author Vladimir Nabokov, who was "...something of a behind-the-scenes powerhouse herself," Schiff says.
By now it is common knowledge that Dominique Swain has been selected to play Lolita in Adrian Lyne's $30-million remake of the film. The Los Angeles Times article of July 14, 1995 describes her as "...a giggly, 14-year-old sophomore-to-be at Malibu High School who was the one actress in 2500 capable of portraying Lyne's version of the teen seductress."
"I saw literally thousands of girls from the nationwide search, some as old as twenty-six, and none panned out," said Lyne. "I was actually in London when I was sent Dominique's tape. I was listening to the dialogue and I couldn't figure out which version of the script she was reading. And then I realized she was reading dialogue from the novel, Nabokov's words, which I found very interesting."

"The thing about Dominique is that she is fresh and a bit eccentric," Lyne said. "In repose, she had that natural sort of squishy, rubber face that kids do with their expressions. She just had an amazing quality that is hard to pin down."
Discussing her first screen test with Lynne, Dominique recalled -- "I was there four days and I remember there wasn't any mouthwash in the hotel"... an obvious drawback for a girl with retainers, which happened to be one of the key attractions for Lyne. "I want Dominique to wear her retainers in the film. It adds a certain charm, particularly when she clicks them at Humbert to annoy him."

The film script was attempted by David Mamet, James Deardon and Harold Pinter. The final script was written by Steven Schiff, a staff writer for the New Yorker.

[In the "What are they doing Now" category of celebrity profile, Sue Lyon whose career was not assisted by her role as Lolita, was married four times, one of whom was a convicted murderer in the Colorado State Penitentiary. Now 49, she lives quietly in the Hollywood Hills.]

Richard Zanuck, the film's producer, when asked if he thought that there might be some public concern over the subject matter of the film, said

"This is one of the great pieces of literature, ... [It] is the story of a man who finds himself in a desperate situation. At times it is very funny and very sad."
A not especially interesting article in the September issue of Harper's Bazaar is titled "Lolitas On-line" and it discusses teenage girls who use the Internet to atttract older men.

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