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It's always the same old story

Great writers never die, they just fade away

  • Robert McCrum
  • The Observer, Sunday 8 November 2009
    Take Vladimir Nabokov. There is every reason to suspect he knew that The Original of Laura was far below his best work, but he battled on with it, even on his deathbed. Finally, admitting defeat in his last weeks, he ordered its destruction, even though this was a deed he could not bring himself to undertake and bequeathed to his luckless inheritors. Amid the acres of commentary that will greet Penguin's launch of this posthumous curiosity, it will be intriguing to see how many critics conclude that the old boy must have known that the game was up.
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