Does it matter what V.N. would feel, since he's long dead? Do we owe no respect to his last wishes because we greedily want some "key" to his work, or just more of it for our own selfish reasons? Does the lust for aesthetic beauty always allow us to rationalize trampling on the artist's grave? Does the greatness of an artist diminish his right to dispose of his own unfinished work?
Lots of interesting questions there. I think we would all like to believe that our last wishes will be honored by our nearest and dearest after we’ve bought the farm. On the other hand, the dead are dead. They’re past caring, and it would be a shame to lose anything by an artist like Nabokov, even undistinguished apprentice work, which this manuscript plainly isn’t. Any opinions?
Yes, it does matter what V.N. would feel, because he laid down the law on this when he was alive, not dead. In a sense, if the manuscript is allowed into public domain, it's Dimitri's work
, not Nabokov's, because one is then reading something illegitimate. It is greedy and it is totally disrespectful. The work has much more mystery if left unread by scholars and public alike. Dimitri could still talk about it, people don't have to have access to everything. It's probably some father-son psychological entanglement and there could be feelings of inferiority as there often is with a great parent, I don't know. But it's to me just another example of exploitation of the individual as a disposable commodity that has become even more popular in the current era than in the past. It's much as though the great artist is told 'well, you gave us more than almost anyone else, so why not this too? Shouldn't we have some say?'
Wasn't there a video of some cocaine being used near Heath Ledger at some party or event quashed yesterday? I was surprised that it would be. I wouldn't read the 'Laura' book, and I hope that anyone who does will read it accompanied by 'I am reading something that the author didn't want me to read' going on the entire time. Because it is not Nabokov's work you are then reading, as it is with 'Ada' or 'Lolita'. You are reading something about Dimitri. Otherwise, forget copyright laws, do condensed books of 'Lolita', allow overt plagiarism, not just the 'crytomnesia' described in the article, and let Balanchine be danced literally anywhere and by anybody, in new popularized versions and in Disney movies, with Kristen Chenoweth as Maria Tallchief, just like Fosse's work was slaughtered in the movie of 'Chicago'. At least Dimitri refused to tell Rosenbaum who had the other key to the safe. Impossible that Rosenbaum could see it as any other than trying to get everything exposed, although he does some 'passing the buck' to Dimitri as if he himself had been somewhat victimized by the matter (yes, he hasn't got the results he wanted yet).