NABOKV-L post 0003428, Wed, 14 Oct 1998 14:55:22 -0700

Re: DN's Legal Challenge (fwd)
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 18:15:02 EDT
Subject: Re: DN's Legal Challenge (fwd)


Lolita is one of the best novels I have ever read, but it is still just a
novel, just a body of words published and floating in the world, subject to
all responses, criticisms, jibes and dishonors. No writer can publish a work
and then direct the manner in which that work is received by the public --
part of the great sacrifice of the writer is publishing. I would never have
wished for Lolita to be censured, just as I would never wish for any other
work to be censured, including Lo's Diary.

I have not read the parody in question, and I have no intention of reading
it, since it sounds like a piece of hack writing and I have no desire to
see Lolita made fun of. All the same, I don't understand Dmitri Nabokov's
problem with the book. What harm can it do? The names and circumstances
have been altered enough that there is no more plagiarism there than in
your typical MAD magazine article, and the lawsuit can only bring
notoriety to a book that probably would have died otherwise in obscurity.
In all likelihood, Lo's Diary will die obscure anyway, while Lolita will
remain one of the best English-language novels of all time. The only
effect that the parody could have on Nabokov's work is if it were a good,
sharp piece of satire. I understand from the accounts on this list that
it is not. Dmitri seems to be flailing as if he were frightened that
Alexander Pope had risen from the grave to taunt the memory of his father
... VN's's memory, work, and legacy are too strong to be damaged by this
trifle of a publication. Leave Lo's Dairy alone.

Chris J. Magyar
The Colorado College