The great novelist and short story writer Vladimir Nabokov emigrated to the United States, made his fortune with the publication of the incendiary "Lolita," and then decamped to a hotel in Switzerland for the rest of his life.
He died in 1977, leaving behind — on 138 handwritten index cards — the fragments of a final book titled "The Original of Laura." He wanted it destroyed. His wife, who once saved "Lolita" from the flames, declined.
Now, it’s out. Nabokov’s last work, published against his dying wish.
This hour, On Point: from the fragments of a master, Vladimir Nabokov’s “The Original of Laura.”
Brian Boyd, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and author of numerous books on Nabokov, including "Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years," "Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years," and "Nabokov's Pale Fire: The Magic of Artistic Discovery." His most recent book is "On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction."
Leland de la Durantaye, a professor of English at Harvard University and the author of “Style Is Matter: The Moral Art of Vladimir Nabokov.”
To mark Nabokov's 100th birthday in April 1999, Random House created a special site devoted to the author's life and work. It's a good introduction, and includes an essay by our guest Brian Boyd on Nabokov's memoir, "Speak, Memory."
This program aired on November 18, 2009.