From the preface to May Sarton’s The Fur Person:

Before Judy and I moved to 14 Wright St. in Cambridge,
we lived for a few years in the early 1950s in a
rented house at 9 Maynard Place. When Judy had a
sabbatical leave, we sublet to Vladimir Nabokov and
his beautiful wife, Véra, and they were delighted to
accept Tom Jones as a cherished paying guest during
their stay. What a bonanza for a gentleman cat to be
taken into such a notable family with kind Véra and
Felidae-lover Vladimir! And to hear cat language
translated into Russian.

My study at Maynard Place was at the top of the house;
a small, sunny room, one wall lined with books, and on
the windowed side a long trestle table and a straight
chair. Nabokov removed this austere object and
replaced it with a huge overstuffed armchair where he
could write half lying down. Tom Jones soon learned
that he was welcome to install himself at the very
heart of genius on Nabokov’s chest, there to make
starfish paws, purr ecstatically, and sometimes —
rather painfully for the object of his pleasure —
knead. I like to imagine that Lolita was being dreamed
that year and that Tom Jones’ presence may have had
something to do with the creation of that sensuous
world. At any rate, for him it was a year of grandiose
meals and subtle passions.


  1. Seems like fiction, so I verified it 😀

  2. LH, did you intentionally preserve the line-breaking of the original? I salute your authenticity!

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