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Nabokov Studies, 1 (1994), 21-67. JANE GRAYSON (London, U.K.) WASHINGTON'S GIFT: MATERIALS PERTAINING TO NABOKOV'S GIFT IN THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS' What I propose here is a review of the archival materials pertaining to Dar (The Gift) which are held in the United States Library of Congress, Washington, DC. I make no claims to any definitive judgments on the documents. They are themselves fragmentary and inconclusive and can only.benefit from exposure to other pairs of eyes, other points of view. Brian Boyd's (unsigned) checklist of the archive appeared in an early number of The Vladimir Nabokov Research Newsletter, the forerunner of The Nabokovian.^ The items I consulted are there described as follows: Container No> 6 a) Ms. of ch. 1 of Dar, 90 pp. (Russian). b) Printed pages of Sovremenniia Zapiski version of Dar, chs. 1 -3 and 5, corrected by VN and used as setting copy (Russian). c) Ts. of ch. 4 of Dar, with ms. corrections; used as setting copy, 108 pp. (Russian). With ms., 1 p. of bibliographical note, in Vera Nabokov's hand. d) Ms., exercise book, unpublished drafts and notes for Dar continuations , 31 pp., with draft of Rusalka continuation, 5 pp. (Russian).2 * Here I would like to acknowledge the generous gift of Dmitri Nabokov in allowing me access to the archive material and permission to publish my findings. Without him none of this would have been possible. I also express my thanks to the staff of the manuscript division, and especially Fred Bauman, for the courtesy and helppfulness shown me in the limited time I had at my disposal. Nor would it without the exhaustive researches of Brian Boyd and the invaluable resource he has given Nabokov studies in his critical biography. I am grateful to him and to Don Barton Johnson for their encouragement and constructive criticism. I also thank John Hirsh for making possible my stay in Washington, Igor Golomshtok for his sensitivity to my linguistic insensitivity, and John Wieczorek who revealed a hitherto hidden talent for unearthing German lepidopteral lore. The interpretations and the errors remain mine, as does the awareness of the many loose ends and unsolved little mysteries. 1. VNRN, No. 4 (1980), pp. 20-34. 2. While the total number of pages listed here is accurate, the description is slightly misleading. See the discussion below. 22 Nabokov Studies e) Ms., unpublished "second addition" to Dar, 54 pp. (Russian). f) Ts., unpublished second addition to Dar, 5 pp. (incomplete). (Russian). It was items (d - f) which interested me particularly and prompted me to make the journey, my curiosity having been whetted by the brief tantalizing description given by Brian Boyd in the first volume of his Nabokov biography.3 Given pressure of time I did not look at item (a), the ms. of chapter 1 at all. However, my attention was caught by item (b), a not quite complete copy of the four chapters of the novel that were published in volumes 63 to 67 of Sovremennye zapiski, 1937-38,4 since it meant that I needed to correct an observation I had made earlier about Nabokov's practice of revision, namely that, whereas reworking was a feature of his writing in English, both in translation and in his original writing, it was not a feature of his Russian.5 Here I saw that in preparing Dar for its first complete book edition by the Chekhov Publishing House Nabokov made a number of alterations to his earlier text.6 No matter that the changes were minimal, it was out of a desire to remedy my earlier mistmpressfon-that F looked first at the copy of the SZ chapters (item b) and then at the typescript of the hitherto unpublished chapter 4 (item c) and propose to describe the nature of the changes briefly here. Item (b): alterations made in chapters 1-3 and 5 for the 1952 edition of Dar The alterations are made in more than one hand. Though I am no hand writing expert there is certainly evidence of Nabokov's and Véra's hand and possibly of a third person. Apart from correction of misprints and the odd...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9965
Print ISSN
1080-1219
Pages
pp. 21-67
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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