Nabokov's Ghost: Make Buck off Laura

Son's imagined convo with dead dad might've saved final manuscript
By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2008 7:59 PM CST
US writer Vladimir NABOKOV with his son Dimitri. (PAR37915)   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – Dmitri Nabokov's decision not to destroy his famed father's unfinished manuscript followed an imagined conversation with Vladimir's ghost, writes Ron Rosenbaum for Slate. Rosenbaum, who sleuthed his way through the "to burn or not to burn" debate, was previously told by Dmitri—who hinted at the book's genius before announcing his intent to destroy it—that he would keep his decision secret.

But in a recent email, Dmitri wrote that Vladimir told him, "Do what you like but why not make some money on the damn thing?" Rosenbaum, who read two passages from The Original of Laura, speculates that it could be a more-pornographic rehandling of Lolita—and concludes that selling the manuscript to a museum or foundation may indeed be the best move of all. (Read more Vladimir Nabokov stories.)