NABOKV-L post 0018806, Tue, 17 Nov 2009 22:54:46 -0200

J Zalbidea: news at El Pais - Spain 2009-Nov-17
excerpts: "El placer no es el mismo que el que proporciona una novela acabada, pero la intimidad de la lectura de las fichas tal y como las escribió Nabokov permite a los lectores penetrar en la interioridad del hombre y del escritor como nunca antes", sostiene el director editorial de Penguin Classics, Alexis Kirschbaum, en un artículo que publica el diario británico The Guardian para defender la posición de la familia del escritor de origen ruso. Frente a críticas como la vertida por el novelista Martin Amis, asegurando que la lectura del manuscrito le ha convertido en testigo de la muerte de un genio, Kirschbaum asegura que "El original de Laura estaba ya completo en la mente de Nabokov, aunque no llegara a plasmarse sobre el papel".

JM: The opinions of certain critics are more effective, and valuable, than others. Ellen Wilson's observations concerning "Lolita" were practical, enthusiastic and prophetic - but she was second fiddle to Edmund's performances.
Martin Amis's versus A. Kirschbaum's, though, are well-matched. Time will tell.

What fascinates me in this story is the almost platonic debate, with biblical kinbotean tints, about the structure of VN's novel - because it sometimes strikes me that the testimonies go even further to suggest that the entire novel was ready in VN's mind.
I thought at first that I understood what these words about the "entire novel"meant but, on second thoughts, I realize that I'm still in the dark..
It seems that there is an ellusive additional "something" which would round it up, envelop or transcend it, quite independently of the novel's structural qualities, characters, plot. And it would exist outside Nabokov's mind, ready for any "good reader" to discern had he been able to write it down.

Nabokov: “the not quite finished manuscript of a novel which I had begun writing and reworking before my illness and which was completed in my mind.”..."
As he drifted from hospital room to hospital room, and in and out of lucidity, he could see the complete book in his mind but couldn’t get it down on paper. He had to settle for reciting the finished product to (as he described it in a letter) 'a small dream audience'."
Biographer B.Boyd: Nabokov would customarily “envisage a novel in his mind complete from start to finish before writing it down”

"I’m willing to believe that the real novel — not the one we now see through a glass darkly — was Nabokov’s last-minute masterwork..." (David Gates)
"Laura was complete in Nabokov's mind, if not on paper, and he told his son Dmitri that he considered it one of his three most important works." (A.Kirschbaum)

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors:,
Visit Zembla:
View Nabokv-L policies:
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:"

Manage subscription options: