There’s a slightly interesting discussion here about whether Vladimir Nabokov’s unfinished “The Original of Laura” novel should be destroyed as he wished or preserved and possibly published.
I’m a huge fan of Nabokov–he’s taught me more about writing than any other writer–and am conflicted by the issue. The writer in me wants to see the partial, wants to see any notes, jottings, drafts still in existence, as a way of learning more about writing. The reader in me says, destroy the partial as Nabokov wanted.
Does anyone care about this specific case, or about the general issue of preservation or destruction of papers, drafts, and partials that the writer has said should be destroyed? What is the value of keeping them? At what point do a writer’s rights end and the reading public’s, or academic’s, rights begin?
I’m asking here because the discussion at the Reading Experience has gone downhill fast.