This interview (published in Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature, vol. 2, spring 1967) was conducted on September 25, 27, 28, 29, 1966, at Montreux, Switzerland. Nabokov and his wife have for the last six years lived in an opulent hotel built in 1835, which still retains its nineteenth-century atmosphere. ther wrote out his answers to the questions or dictated them to the interviewer; in some instances, notes from the conversation were later recast as formal questions-and-answers.
Their suite of rooms is on the sixth floor, overlooking Lake Geneva, and the sounds of the lake are audible through the open doors of their small balcony. Nabokov does not like to talk off the cuff (or "Off the Nabocuff," as he said) no tape recorder was used. The interviewer was Nabokov's student at Cornell University in 1954, and the references are to Literature 311-312 (MWF, 12), a course on the Masterpieces of European Fiction (Jane Austen, Gogol, Dickens, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Stevenson, Kafka, Joyce, and Proust).
Chapter Fourteen in Speak, Memory will provide additional information.
The parodies of Freud in Lolita and Pale Fire suggest a wider familiarity with the good doctor than you have ever publicly granted. Oh, I am not up to discussing again that figure of fun.Everything that can be profitably said about Count Godunov-Cherdyntsev's biography of Chernyshevski has been said by Koncheyev in The Gift.I can only add that I devoted as much honest labor to the task of gathering the material for the Chernyshevski chapter as I did to the composing of Shade's poem in Pale Fire.My aversion to groups is rather a matter of temperament than the fruit of information and thought.I was born that way and have despised ideological coercion instinctively all my life.On the other hand, neither Gogol nor Tolstoy nor Chekhov were distinguished versificators.