The MacLamity

The News That Stays News, Reported Live

Friday, November 25, 2005

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This is perhaps the most sensible reaction to the news that Dmitri Nabokov might burn the unfinished manuscript of his father's last novel:
If people really want to commit suicide, they commit suicide. If they don't really want to commit suicide, they announce their intentions to friends, with the unconscious hope that they'll be stopped. I think the same goes for book burning. If Franz Kafka really wanted his books burned, he wouldn't have asked Max Brod to do it. If Vladimir Nabokov
really wanted to torch "Lolita," he surely could have found a way to do so without alerting Vera -- somehow, he never did. If he really wanted to do the same with "The Original of Laura," why in the world pass off the horrendous task to his heirs? Why not just do it himself and be done with it? It's the simplest thing in the world to destroy paper; asking someone else to do it for you indicates that maybe it shouldn't be done to begin with. I certainly don't see, outside of filial obligation, what the value is in doing it now.

Dmitri has since denied that he'll burn the manuscript. Either way, Dmitri is becoming a bit oo much like Stephen Joyce in his old age. As death approaches he's becoming less a guardian of the flame and more a miserly hoarder of the family silver.