Robert Roper ( writes:

The standard acct of the publication of The Enchanter is that N wrote Volshebnik in '39, then thought he lost the sole copy, only to rediscover it in '59.  (In that year he wrote a letter to publisher Walter Minton saying it might be interesting to bring out, as a precursor to Lolita.)  Then in the mid-80s Dmitri made his excellent translation, published '86.

But Edmund Wilson, in his letter of Nov. 30, '54, giving his tepid response to Lolita, which he had just partly-read in ms., says, "Now about your novel: I like it less than anything else of yours I have read.  The short story that it grew out of was interesting, but I don't think the subject can stand this very extended treatment": DBDV, p 320.

What story is Wilson talking about?  Had N shown him (therefore, rediscovered earlier) the Volshebnik ms?  Wilson was still in a hot period of his enthusiasm for Russian, so he might have been up to reading the original, or at least part of it.

Any info or ideas much welcome-
Robert Roper  

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney
Co-Editor, NABOKV-L
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