1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 3, 2008
Nabokov's last novel lies in a Swiss vault, hailed by the few who have read it as his finest work – but before he died he ordered that the manuscript be destroyed.
Somewhere in Switzerland there’s a safety-deposit box that contains one of the most divisive literary manuscripts on earth. It’s been over 30 years since it was deposited there, and locking it away was less a decision than a a way of putting off the worst. If Vladimir Nabokov’s unambiguous request had been obeyed, the work, transcribed from 50 index cards on which the great writer noted down the bare bones of his final and incomplete novel, would have been immediately destroyed. But his executors – his beloved wife, Véra, and his adored son, Dmitri – vacillated.
-- Times Online
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (April 22 [O.S. April 10] 1899, Saint Petersburg – July 2, 1977, Montreux) was a multilingual Russian-American novelist and short story writer.
Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist. He also made significant contributions to entomology and had an interest in chess problems.
Nabokov's "Lolita" (1955) is frequently cited as his most important novel, and is at any rate his most widely known one, exhibiting the love of intricate wordplay and descriptive detail that characterized all his works. Nabokov himself regarded his four-volume translation of Aleksandr Pushkin's Eugene Onegin as his other major achievement.
(Photo courtesy of Philippe Halsman / Magnum Photos)