Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dmitri's dilemma

My friend Simar sent me this article from Slate. It's an interesting dilemma, I'd say:

Here is your chance to weigh in on one of the most troubling dilemmas in contemporary literary culture. I know I'm hopelessly conflicted about it. It's the question of whether the last unpublished work of Vladimir Nabokov, which is now reposing unread in a Swiss bank vault, should be destroyed—as Nabokov explicitly requested before he died.

It's a decision that has fallen to his sole surviving heir (and translator), Dmitri Nabokov, now 73. Dmitri has been torn for years between his father's unequivocal request and the demands of the literary world to view the final fragment of his father's genius, a manuscript known as The Original of Laura. Should Dmitri defy his father's wishes for the sake of "posterity"?

1 comment:

Sharanya Manivannan said...

I think it should be destroyed. Nabokov -- and any public figure -- may belong to human imagination in general, but they should never be regarded as public property to the extent of disregarding their explicit wishes about their own work.

It's Nabokov's work. If he had lived long enough, he'd have destroyed it himself. I think it's just basic respect to him as a person to carry that out.