After much sputtering and hemming, Dmitri Nabokov will not burn Laura, the final ms of his late, great father, Vladimir. Why? His father’s ghost apparently appeared to him and told him go ahead and publish it. How ironic that the literary-device-equivalent of Draino has won the day.
Vladimir Nabokov’s The Original of Laura will now not be thrown onto the flames, the 73-year-old has told Der Spiegel magazine, arguing that his father, the creator of Lolita and Pale Fire who died in 1977, would not want his son to suffer any more over his most tortuous dilemma.
If he fails to carry out his father’s last will, Dmitri is effectively betraying him, but carry it out and the world loses forever what is potentially a precious gift from the grave from one of the greatest 20th-century novelists. The moral arguments over this have been discussed on this blog before.
From his winter home in Palm Beach, Dmitri justified his decision by saying, “I’m a loyal son and thought long and seriously about it, then my father appeared before me and said, with an ironic grin, ‘You’re stuck in a right old mess – just go ahead and publish!’”
He told the magazine that he had made up his mind to do so.