St. Petersburg, Bolshaya Morskaya, 47. This address is familiar to all readers of Vladimira Vladimirovicha Nabokova’s works. It was in this House on April 10, 1899, who was born the one who was destined to become the glory of Russian literature of the 20th century, the great magician of the word and exile, the eternal traveler. There is nothing surprising in the fact that it almost does not affect his house: it totally retains the aspect of Nabokov’s time, which, it just had to be preserved. All because Nabokov considered this the only place on earth that was really his house.
Again the street has received the old name, Herzen, whose name had been used for a long time, so it had to make room. Those who remember the novel “Another Shore,” written almost half a century after the writer’s family left Petrograd, are recognized in today’s Museum of the external signs of the house, which is so lyrically and subtly described by Nabokov.
The writer of the building was named in Bolshaya Morskaya “the only home in the world”, a few words, as usual, is the watermark to accurately express the essence of the phenomenon.
On November 15, 1917, Nabokov left Petrograd. It is clear that a great part was lost in the last years. But the museum staff has an incredible understanding, touch, so that the look and and fell of the “nests ” were lovingly restaured,which is so familiar to us in the work of Nabokov (“Masha”, “The Luzhin defense “, An autobiography).
The museum was opened on the first floor of the mansion on Bolshaya Morskaya Street in 1998, it was the first and only museum in the world of genius of Russian literature of the 20th century. Since 2008 it is called the VV Nabokova Museum “Faculty of Philology and Letters of the University of St. Petersburg “. At the time of its opening there was almost no object, with the remaining life time of the Nabokov family while they were here. After they went abroad, their properties were nationalized, these articles and books of historical value were dispersed in museums of the country, something that has been installed in the homes of St. Petersburg, which worked in the Nabokov house, some have been preserved by the writer’s native relatives. They were the main sponsors of the museum.
The writer’s son, Dmitri Nabokov, was given poems by his father, autographed reference book, net for catching insects, a set of pencils. The American collector Terry Myers presented the first edition of Nabokov’s books, some of them signed by the author. N. Formozov, who gave the museum a collection of butterflies. Nabokov is owned by Harvard University, in which the writer worked for seven years.
Now it is almost impossible to believe, but in recent years the museum has managed to gather not only the largest collection of everyday objects, but also furniture, documents, photographs, scientific library.
Today, the museum is located on the first floor of the house on Bolshaya Morskaya Street, the room here was restored as well as the dining room, the living room and the library. In the room, the historic interior could not be recovered, which hosts exhibitions, such as April Nabokov’s annual readings, summer schools for students and graduates, the international conference dedicated to the work of the writer, as well as public lectures, round tables and readings which were carried out during the restoration of the house.
The building itself, has been in its best years thanks to the Nabokov family in Russia, it is one of the oldest preserved structures of the city. There by the 30’s of the 18th century its long history begin. The owners have often changed, it was rebuilt several times, until it was bought in dowry by the daughter of the state councilor Rukavishnikov. A year later the family settled here and lived in Nabokov for 18 years, until Petrograd flight in 1917. In 1902 the reconstruction of the building was completed: another floor was completed, became the outer edge. The facade was made in mosaic by V. Frolov, the best teacher of Petersburg, famous for his work in decorating the temple of the Savior on the spilled blood. It has metal decoration items manufactured and supplied by F. Winkler, whose best-known product is Mikhailovsky’s garden model and the stained-glass windows of the second floor made by Riga master Ernst Thode.