Literary Scandal

The New Republic takes exception to Nabokov's posthumous "novel" while levelling charges of bad taste against his son and extortion against Knopf publishing.

The New Republic takes exception to Nabokov's posthumous "novel" while levelling charges of bad taste against his son and extortion against Knopf publishing. "So this is what we’ve all been waiting for? The last, lost work of the great master, all but complete, so rumor had it, at the time of his death, sequestered for decades in a Swiss vault, 'brilliant, original, and potentially totally radical,' according to his son and heir, 'the most concentrated distillation of [my father’s] creativity'--and all that it amounts to, we now learn, is a handful of crumbs, a bit of lint, a few coins. Well, print it in a scholarly journal, sell it to The New Yorker, put it in a catchall collection of unpublished work. I was not for burning, as Nabokov decreed, but after dithering for two decades, after Ron Rosenbaum’s Web-based worldwide plebiscite, after all the prefatory gestures of a small-time conjurer building up to the culminating bunny, is this really what Dmitri Nabokov proposes to foist on us? Scarcely thirty pages worth of text, packaged into a brick of a book (curb weight 2.4 pounds) and modestly priced at, ahem, thirty-five bucks. It’s a sham, a scam. I don’t think Dmitri did it for the money--Lolita’s child must be rolling in it. But I do think Knopf did, and they must have drafted a platoon of cosmetologists to gussy up this pig. Lipstick? Lipstick, rouge, high heels, falsies, and a little black cocktail dress."

Related Articles

A controversial theory claims past, present, and future exist at the same time

Our experience of time may be blinding us to its true nature, say scientists.

Back to the Future.
Surprising Science
  • Time may not be passing at all, says the Block Universe Theory.
  • Time travel may be possible.
  • Your perception of time is likely relative to you and limited.
Keep reading Show less

Six disastrous encounters with the world’s most hostile uncontacted tribe

From questionable shipwrecks to outright attacks, they clearly don't want to be bothered.

Culture & Religion
  • Many have tried to contact the Sentinelese, to write about them, or otherwise.
  • But the inhabitants of the 23 square mile island in the Bay of Bengal don't want anything to do with the outside world.
  • Their numbers are unknown, but either 40 or 500 remain.
Keep reading Show less