Nabokov’s Last Novel to be Published

April 22, 2008 | No Comments

In his will, Vladimir Nabokov instructed his son Dmitri to destroy his unfinished works. Since Nabokov’s death in 1977, Dmitri has been keeping the literary world on tenterhooks (and enjoying doing so, I’m sure) as he swithered about burning the unfinished novel, The Original of Laura, which Nabokov wrote on index cards and stored in a Swiss vault. Now, Dmitri has decided to publish and be damned. Nabokov won’t be the only author whose final wishes were summarily trampled; Franz Kafka and Emily Dickinson were also published without their consent. Are such acts monstrous betrayals of the rights of dying friends and relatives, or are they a service to mankind? If the work is good, one could argue the latter, but who want to be doubting the word of a friend in their final hours. Or, even worse, worrying that all that misspelled, half-chewed, early-drafted-crap might see the light of day…

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