Colloque International : « Vladimir Nabokov et la France »
Les Chercheurs enchantés : Société Française Vladimir Nabokov
Paris, 30 mai-1er juin 2013
PONOMAREVA, Tatiana – Directrice du Musée Nabokov à Saint-Pétersbourg, Russie
Nabokov’s French Childhood
The talk will focus on the various French cultural influences that Vladimir Nabokov experienced in his formative years, growing up in the early 20th century St. Petersburg. To the contemporary readers of Nabokov the immense wealth of his French cultural heritage was not fully revealed until the publication of his work on “Eugene Onegin” but the roots of this heritage can be traced not only to his university education but, primarily, to his family upbringing.
In Nabokov’s own words, he was raised as a “perfectly normal trilingual child”. However, the importance of each of all the three languages varied at different times. Though his very first teachers were English, French remained the everyday household language and there were years when Nabokov didn’t use much English at home. Along with reading French books from the vast family library and classes with his French governess, Nabokov was immersed into a Francophone environment at home, at school and even on the way to school. In my talk I will try to follow the young Vladimir Nabokov on his typical day in St. Petersburg, in the midst of that unique culture that nourished the future writer.
Tatiana Ponomareva is Director of the Vladimir Nabokov Museum (since 2008 the St.Petersburg State University Vladimir Nabokov Museum). She is also a lecturer at the St.Petersburg University Philology Faculty. Tatiana Ponomareva organized many Nabokov conferences and academic events and edited several academic publications on Nabokov studies.