Letter to Véra Slonim | Vladimir Nabokov (1923)

Vladimir Nabokov and Véra, his future wife, Berlin, 1924


c 26 July 1923


“I won’t hide it. I’m so unused to being - well, understood, perhaps, - so unused to it, that in the very first 
minutes of our meeting I thought: this is a joke, a masquerade trick.“

"There are things that are hard to talk about - you’ll rub off their marvelous pollen at the touch of a word.”

“Your letters they are lovely like the white nights”

“You are the only person I can talk with about the shade of a cloud, about the song of a thought - and about 
how, when I went out to work today and looked a tall sunflower in the face, it smiled at me with all of its seeds.”

"I will be in Berlin on the 10th or 11th … And if you’re not there I will come to you, and find you …"

“See you soon my strange joy, my tender night.”


Excerpts from the first letter Vladimir (then known by the pen-name Vladimir Sirin) wrote to Véra Slonim, 
after meeting her at a charity ball attended by Russian émigrés in Berlin, in May of 1923 when she was 19 and he 22.



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