NABOKOV AND PROUST In the mid-1960s Nabokov told Alvin Toffler that Proust had been one ofhis favorite authors between 1919 and 1939 (SO 43). Then, in an interview with Robert Hughes, he singled out “the first half of Proust’s fairy tale In Search of Lost Time”1 which he ranked fourth among twentieth-century masterpieces in prose (SO 57).2 The significance of this relationship has intrigued Nabokov’s readers since at least 1930, when the émigré journal Chisla asked him whether Proust was “the most powerful spokesman of our epoch” and whether he would “have a decisive influence.”3 At that time Nabokov gave no clear answer; later research, though it has commented suggestively on his career after 1950, has yet to provide a detailed account of Nabokov’s earlier interests in Proust.