Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What would you do?

Via Three Percent, I came across this interesting article regarding Nabokov's last, unfinished work.

Nabokov expressly ordered that this unfinished work be burned. And yet, according to his son, charged with carrying out his father's orders, this last work "would have been a brilliant, original, and potentially totally radical book, in the literary sense very different from the rest of his oeuvre."

I'd never be able to burn it, no matter how much I can understand Nabokov's wishes. I'd set it loose upon the world, errors and inconsistencies be damned.

What would you do?


Jaimie said...

An interesting dilemma to be sure. I read the article you linked to but that is all the info I know about it. With just that much I would lean towards not destroying the manuscript because if Nabokov really did not want it published, he would have done it himself. Burned it that is.
We don't know the relationship the two had and I personally don't think it is fair to ask your own child, whatever his age, to do such a thing. His son should make up his mind and not feel conflicted either way.

JRH456 said...

As a manager of a bookstore my opinion is slanted by the fact that I would sell the crap out of the book... so i say publish it :-)

Bybee said...

Even if he ordered me to, I'd have trouble burning any writing my father left behind, and my father wasn't a writer. If Nabokov wanted his ms burned, he should've done it himself. Didn't Emily Dickinson make the same request of her family?

Jennifer McKenzie said...

I'd publish it. I know writers never think their own stuff is good.

Chiron said...

Think of what we have lost because siblings and children have followed these crazy last requests.

A diary and a novel by Emily Bronte comes to mind, and all that has done is swirled rumors about both ever since.

Nabokov is an great and important writer. Publish!