Ghost of Nabokov Says: "Go Ahead and Publish!"
Vladimir Nabokov's 73-year-old son was visited by the ghost of his dead father this week, who told him to go ahead publish the late novelist's final work, a novel called "The Original of Laura."

" father appeared before me and said, with an ironic grin, 'You're stuck in a right old mess -- just go ahead and publish!'" said Dmitri Nabokov to the German news magazine "Der Spiegel."

Dmitri has been responsible for burning the manuscript since 1991. Instead of being consigned to the flames, the novel will now be released to scholars and fans.

The Fiction Circus's Goodman Carter outlined the high stakes surrounding the Nabokov Dilemma in March in an essay entitled "Should We Burn Nabokov?"

According to Carter, there is precedent for Dmitri's decision to ignore his father's dying wishes.

"Executors of literary estates in the past have refused to burn the work they watch over," said Carter. "If they hadn't, a considerable amount of today's classic literature would be non-existent. Virgil requested "The Aeneid" be burned. One of Nabokov's heroes, Nikolai Gogol, burned the second part of "Dead Souls" himself."

In 1977, the author demanded that his wife Vera burn the manuscript, but she could not do it, and the responsibility passed to their only child with her death.

The novel is hand-written on 50 notecards and locked in a safe-deposit box in Switzerland. To this date, not even the Carmen Sandiego crime syndicate has been able to read what probably amounts to 30 typewritten pages.

For the past year, critics and fans have been urging Dmitri Nabokov to make a decision about the novel. According to Dmitri, the unpublished work is his father's "most brilliant novel, the most concentrated distillation of his creativity."

This is probably not true.

No one knows if Dmitri Nabokov ever showed the novel to any dewy young Nabokov fans in an attempt to get them to sleep with him, but most people assume that he did.

Some speculate that one of Nabokov's obsessed fans dressed up like a ghost and -- using a crazy voice and light show, like in "Back to the Future" when Marty McFly dressed up like an alien -- convinced the doddering old man not to burn his father's last literary effort.

Others speculate that Vladimir Nabokov's literary and occult powers can still dement minds from beyond the grave, and that we should all fear eternity and what it holds for each of us.


Posted by miracle on Sat, 26 Apr 2008 04:39:15 -0400 -- permanent link

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