A man deeply in Love

posted Nov 20, 2015, 4:12 PM by Abhishek Ojha   [ updated Nov 20, 2015, 4:12 PM ]

...one of the best I have ever read about love !

....Nabokov believed destiny had arranged the encounter. Their union felt to him preordained, a point he made by summoning an image from The Count of Monte Cristo. He mangled it a bit; he generally felt himself beyond language, illiterate, clumsy on the page when it came to Véra Evseevna Slonim. “I can’t tell you anything in words,” wailed the greatest prose stylist of the twentieth century. He knew a fairy tale when he saw one. He was a man deeply in love.

Enchanted by Véra’s lightness, laugh, and “unique charm,” her “stretchy vowels,” “sweet long legs,” and “little dachshund paws”—he did not mention the pages of his verse that she had committed to memory—he poured out his heart. He needed her desperately. He could not write a word without hearing it in her pronunciation. He could not wait for her to read his pages. She understood his every comma. “All the happiness of the world, the riches, power and adventures, all the promises of religions, all the enchantment of nature and even human fame” could not equal, he swore in 1925, two of her letters.

...He could offer “a sunny, simple happiness—and not an altogether common one,” a promise on which he largely delivered.

...And Nabokov found the means to express the “cirrus-cumulus sensations” that would produce what he always referred to, needed to think of as, a cloudless marriage. Within months of their 1923 meeting, Véra was his joy, his life, his music, his love. She was also his kittykin, his poochums, his mousikins, goosikins, monkeykins, sparrowling, kidlet—since he was not keeping a list he feared he might be repeating himself (he was); he worried he would run out of critters (he did not)—his skunky, his bird of paradise, his mothling, kitty-cat, roosterkin, mousie, tigercubkin.

...“You write disgustingly rarely to me,” he observed, sounding what was to become a half-century-long refrain.

...“Try to be cheery when I come back,” he begged in 1942 from wintertime St. Paul, “(but I love you when you’re low, too).”

And he missed his wife. He was “furiously bored,” miserable, enervated without her. He had no one to whom he could complain. By April, after eleven weeks apart, the separation had become a torture. He could endure it no longer: “Without the air which comes from you I can neither think nor write,” Nabokov grumbled. In the same letter he admitted that he had shared passages of her recent letter with two friends. “They said they understood now who writes my books for me,” he added. He hoped she was flattered.

Véra later claimed her husband wrote her daily if not twice a day in 1937, although the evidence here suggests he did so several times a week—could hardly have been more illuminating. They also obscured, like windshield wipers hauling snow in one direction to smear slush in the other. Nabokov dreamed of Véra; he walked about “in a sort of cloud of tenderness” toward her; he loved her beyond words. He shared every detail of his existence save—Find What the Husband Has Hidden—for one.

My sun, my soul, my song, my bird, my sweetheart, my pink sky, my sunny rainbow, my little music, my inexpressible delight, my softness, my tenderness, my lightness, my dear life, my dear eyes. . . . These endearments and salutations (backed up by a crowded menagerie of surrogates: Goosikins, Poochums, Tigercubkin, Puppykin) suggest a sky-filling ­adoration and, more than that, a helpless dependency. As early as Vladimir Nabokov’s second letter to Véra Slonim, after a couple of months of chaste acquaintanceship, he lays it all before her: “I cannot write a word without hearing how you will pronounce it — and can’t recall a single trifle I’ve lived through without regret — so sharp! — that we haven’t lived through it together. . . . You came into my life . . . as one comes to a kingdom where all the rivers have been waiting for your reflection, all the roads, for your steps.


[source and more: His Joy, His life]


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