NABOKV-L post 0011264, Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:16:24 -0800

Fw: Moscow Times article re Nabokov Estate and Dmitri Nabokov's
MessageEDNOTE: The Moscow Times carried the following story a few days ago. Following the article is Dmitri Nabokov's response to the article

By Victor Sonkin
Published: March 18, 2005

Vladimir Nabokov's destiny was a difficult one. Forced into exile by the Revolution, he spent the early part of his life in Germany and France, working as a tutor and tennis coach while gradually becoming the greatest Russian writer of his time. Unfortunately, his poetry and fiction were appreciated only by a small emigre circle. After relocating to the United States, he continued to pursue his interest in entomology -- he had a lifelong passion for butterflies -- and, with the publication of "Lolita," he became a living classic of American literature. However, his early Russian novels, most of them translated into English by the author and his son Dmitry, have remained more obscure to U.S. readers than the books he wrote in English.

After the fall of the Soviet regime, Nabokov's books were finally published in Russia. Except for "Lolita," translated by the author into Russian -- although some critics consider this translation seriously inferior to the original -- his English-language novels have not achieved the same success here as "The Gift" or "Glory," his Russian masterpieces.

Today, Nabokov's heritage is plagued by scandals. Dmitry Nabokov, acting as his late father's solicitor, has been very attentive to every publication and has never missed a chance to point out inconsistencies or mistakes. He was quite displeased with the first Russian biography, "The World and the Gift of Nabokov" by Boris Nosik, a writer and journalist living in Paris. The book, despite approaching Nabokov with awe and respect, was indeed rather imaginative and bordered on fiction in its treatment of facts.

In 2003, Dmitry Nabokov sued the Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishing house for the book "Nabokov on Nabokov," compiled by scholar Nikolai Melnikov. Nabokov Jr. accused Melnikov and his publishers of slandering his father and breaking copyright laws. A mutually satisfactory decision was never reached.

Now another scandal is brewing. Dmitry Nabokov is suing Anatoly Livry, a Russian emigre scholar and writer based in Paris. Livry has achieved some critical acclaim for his publications in Russian literary journals. He has allegedly written a scholarly study, "Nabokov the Nietzschean," which Nabokov's estate is trying to ban. A brief investigation into the scandal revealed a heap of wild accusations from both sides. Suffice it to say that Livry has called Dmitry Nabokov "a small Oedipus still struggling with his father's shadow," while Nabokov has described Livry as a hardened criminal who once planned to kill and dismember his ex-wife and her lesbian lover.

Luckily, Russians have paid little attention to this. With all of Nabokov's books and Brian Boyd's excellent biography now available from the Symposium publishing house, they can savor the author's life and works instead.


De : Dmitri Nabokov
Envoyé : jeudi, 24. mars 2005 05:21
À : ''

To the Editor:

First of all, I thank the Moscow Times for its many kind words in my father's regard and in mine. I ask, however, that the Times either substantiate or retract its affirmations 1) that I am suing the person mentioned: and 2) that the Nabokov Estate is "trying to ban" anything written by this person. I might comment at this point that I know what the Nabokov Estate is doing or not doing, because I AM the Nabokov Estate. I would further like to know the details of the "brief investigation into the scandal", and the nature of the "heap of wild accusations", at least from my side. Here I might mention that it was the person in question himself who described, on more than one occasion, the bizarre matter to which the Times refers regarding his wife and his wife's "lesbian lover".

The Times is right in saying that "Russians have paid little attention to this". Elsewhere, the individual in question has stated that he will now become the "No. 1 annihilator of Vladimir Nabokov", and I have received a letter which, despite falsified attribution, contains an attempt to extort 300,000 Euros in compensation for this person's attempts to attack me over the course of approximately a year. Finally, whether I am a small or a large Oedipus, I could not care less what a person of this ilk writes. For my part, I have found it so dismally dull that I have never been able to digest more than a page of it at a time, and that much very rarely.

Finally, it is lucky indeed that the Russians can now read not only most of Nabokov's works but Brian Boyd's splendid biography of my father, now available from the Symposium publishing house. Both Nabokov and Boyd merit infinitely more attention than such tripe.

Dmitri Nabokov