11 October 2002
NABOKOV, Vladimir. Speak Memory. A Memoir. London: Victor Gollancz, 1951.
8o. Original blue green cloth stamped in black; dust jacket (some chipping at edges, two tape repairs to spine panel.) Provenance: Véra Nabokov (dedication inscription; Véra's corrections; Vladimir Nabokov's estate bookplate on front paste-down).
THE DEDICATION COPY OF THE FIRST ENGLISH EDITION of Conclusive Evidence, with a new title, FIRST ISSUE, INSCRIBED TO VéRA: "Slavnivie zverushki" ('Charming little beasts') on the front free endpaper in December of 1951, a month after the offical publication date. With Véra Nabokov's copious annotations to page 7, as well as her notes, question marks, ticks and underlining to four other pages (72, 73, 224, 225). She has also corrected one word in the Nabokov title referenced on the rear flap of the dust jacket.
In his foreword to the revised memoir, published in 1966, Nabokov reviewed the evolution of the book's title from Conclusive Evidence: "Unfortunately, the phrase suggested a mystery story, and I planned to entitle the British edition Speak, Mnemosyne but was told that 'little old ladies would not want to ask for a book whose title they could not pronounce.' I also toyed with The Anthemion which is the name for a honeysuckle ornament, consisting of elaborate interlacements and expanding clusters, but nobody liked it; so we finally settled for Speak, Memory..." Juliar A26.2.
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