Vera Slonim was a mysterious and intimidating person to many people. As a young woman she carried a gun and was apparently a good shot; she spoke and read at least four languages and could quote poems and passages from books at length. She had strong opinions about life, literature, and manners, and was not shy about expressing them.
And yet, she gave up her entire life to support the man she married, whom she regarded as the greatest writer of her age. Vladimir Nabokov had to flee Russia because of the revolution (in which his father was assassinated), then Berlin and learn to write in a second and third language (French and English). When he taught at Wellesley and Cornell, Vera was always there -- to take notes, to correct his memory, and even to deliver lectures in his absence. When he went to burn the manuscript for "Lolita," she stopped him, and worked tirelessly to find a publisher.
This report prepared by David Loftus