NABOKOV AND KHODASEVICH The subtle, sustaining kinship between Vladislav Khodasevich (1886-1939) and Vladimir Nabokov is one of the great stories of Russian émigré literature of the interwar period.1 Despite numerous references to it by commentators, it has yet to be told in anything like its full dimensionality. The core of the relationship can be summed up as follows: Khodasevich, one of the outstand­ ing poets of the emigration, “wrote himself out” creatively (“ispisalsia”) in the late 1920s and 1930s at precisely the moment when the young poet-becomeprose writer V. Sirin burst on the scene with his stories and novels, including his first major success, Xashchita Luzhina {The Defense, 1930).2Both of these men shared certain tastes and values and, as time went on, both grew increasingly aware that Khodasevich represented the past glories of Russian poetry, legitimate as an object of study but impossible to sustain in the linguistic bell jar of the emigration, and that Sirin (as Nabokov the writer was referred to throughout his émigré years) represented Russian literature’s best chance for a future worthy of its past.