Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003467, Wed, 4 Nov 1998 08:34:01 -0800

Re: Dmitri Nabokov Sues an American Publisher (fwd)
From: MARGERY <margery@sfsu.edu>

Here is a rather late response to the discussion on Pia Pera’s book “Lo’s
There is a work by Valerie Martin which is called, if I’m in tune
with my memory, “Mary Reilly,” in which Martin describes Mary Reilly, a
female servant, from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Stevenson himself never allowed poor Mary Reilly to
become more than a secondary heroine used in the book for the only purpose
of cooking and cleaning. Valerie Martin reworked Stevenson’s novel in her
own “feminine” way.
Remembering Nabokov’s unpleasant attitude toward female authors, it’s
pleasant to know that Pia Pera rewrote a story from Lolita’s point of
view. “Rewriting,” probably, could be considered one of the features of
contemporary “post-modern” literature.
I never heard, however, that Valerie Martin was sued for “stealing” from
Stevenson. There is a question: to what point blood relatives, who are
not always writers themselves and who are often interested in royalties
more than in achievements of literary thought, can influence a modern
literary process?

About Nabokov’s brother: he didn’t commit suicide. During the war, in
Germany, working at the radiostation, he was hiding an American ? English?
pilot from the Nazists. Nazists, apparently, found out about it, and
Sergei Nabokov died in a concentration camp. Does anyone know more about
his fate?
EDITOR's NOte. Two comments. RLS copyright had expired. The story that
Sergei was arrested for harboring a downed flyer seems to have originated,
of at least perpetuated by Zinaida Shakovskaya--not the most reliable of
sources. Anti-German remarks and sexual preference were apparently the
cause of his arrest.

M. Meklina; margery@sfsu.edu