Saturday, November 22, 2008

The original is not Laura

Ever since the story broke, I have had no opinion on Dmitri Nabokov's incertitude over the fate of The Original of Laura. Every news update and every call to honour or disobey his father's dying command left me indifferent. And rather than force an opinion out of a concern to engage with the latest literary debate, I pursued disengagement. Now that he's resolved to publish, I realise why no opinion formed: to destroy or to publish is the same act.

In its spectral, unread presence, The Original of Laura is the promise we preserve even after a novel is read and discussed. As it is, unlit, waiting to burn, unopened, waiting to be read, The Original of Laura is always the great work it can never be.


  1. Yes, but is it perfect? And if so, does its emulation stultify production of the new?

  2. I don't understand your second question Nigel. And what are you asking is perfect?

  3. Well here is a PERFECT cerlihew, says you:

    Vladimir Nabokov,
    Bequeathing a book he wanted rid of,
    Left Dimitri therefore in the mire:
    What’s worse, the frying pan, or fire?



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