More on Laura


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More on Laura

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nov. 19, 2008, 12:09pm

From today's Publisher's Lunch:

Dmitri Nabokov "has finally broken his silence about the contents" of the late Vladimir Nabokov's unfinished THE ORIGINAL OF LAURA, which is set for publication rather than the burning originally called for by the author. And he shows the index cards on which it has written--which have been stored in a Swiss bank vault--to the BBC's cameras.

He told the BBC, "My father told me what his most important books were. He named Laura as one of them. One doesn't name a book one intends to destroy. He would have reacted in a sober and less dramatic way if he did not see death staring him in the face. He certainly would not have wanted it destroyed. He would have wanted to finish it."

Dmitri says it's "the story in part of a brilliant neurologist who is at the same time a fat and physically unappealing man of deep intellect who is oppressed by the exteme infidelity of his much younger wife. At first, playfully, he starts pondering the idea of suicide."

See also BBC and The Independent.

Editat: nov. 19, 2008, 12:35pm

I want to believe, but I'm perplexed by some of Dmitri's statements, compared to earlier reports. Maybe it's the media.

Instead of happy anticipation, though, for the moment I have a kind of sinking feeling...

Editat: abr. 20, 2009, 10:17am

Poor man.

requiescat in pace , Papa.

from it:

"Vladimir Nabokov's final novel is to be published by Penguin later this year...

... Kirschbaum says the new work is both dark and comic, exploring "what it means to hate yourself and want to disappear."

"It's incredibly interesting to see his handwriting and read his prose - not necessarily extremely polished, but you can still see kernels of genius in everything he wrote," she added.

The publisher also announced that in 2010 they would print a collection of Nabokov's poems which have not been seen before in the English language.

A year later they plan to release a completely unseen exchange of letters between Nabokov and his wife. "

Nothing left to cash in on? Old postcards? Address book? Nail clippings?

What does it mean, I wonder, to hate yourself and want to disappear? Hmm. I guess I'll have to shell out £25 to find out. Or not.

abr. 21, 2009, 11:37am

I wonder if he ever wrote a novel about extreme cynicism. Or will that be Dmitiri's lot to write?

nov. 13, 2009, 1:25pm

Alexander Theroux's review of The Original of Laura in the WSJ today Friday 11/13/09

Last line: English professors may assign "The Original of Laura" to their students someday, but it is really better suited to a college ethics class.

nov. 20, 2009, 8:40am

Well I've read it. The penguin hardback is a seriously beautiful object.
I can see what Dimitir means about its importance, but what we have could go on to be pale fire or Ada. Kept short I think it would have been a real classic. Allowed to wander well I'd rather not say. Of course its an interesting read, if for nothing else than to see how Vladimir Nabokov went about writing. For me it was worth the expense and I'll be reading again at least once.

Editat: nov. 25, 2009, 1:28pm

Another take on OoL - more favorable.

"All too often, publications of half-cooked literary fragments are not just disappointing in literary terms, but seem motivated as much by greed as by the heirs' desire to keep their famous forebear alive in print. But whatever one thinks of Nabokov's emphatically unfinished book -- and we'll get to that -- it certainly hasn't been rushed into print in an unseemly fashion. Thirty-two years after Nabokov's death at 78, its publication feels more like a generous gift to readers than a ploy for fame or fortune.

This is in great part due to the dazzlingly clever presentation of the material. By reproducing facsimiles of Nabokov's 138 penciled index cards at the top of each page and printing typeset transcriptions with minimal editorial changes and notes below, Chip Kidd, associate art director at Knopf, has designed a format that reminds us forcefully, in graphic terms, that The Original of Laura is a work in progress and not an ordinary manuscript. The photographed cards are perforated, to encourage us to stack and shuffle them -- as Nabokov apparently did -- into an order that might make more sense. Nabokov's neat handwriting is punctuated by eraser smudges, inserted phrases, and emphatically crossed-out or scribbled-over words. But it becomes fainter, sketchier, and more sparse as he races against time and illness in a Lausanne hospital, trying to net ideas and pin down a draft, a goal as elusive as some of the butterflies he chased and collected around the globe."

Heller McAlpin in the Christian Science Monitor here: