Yes, Eila is sick, and once again I notice that the main difference between Eila sick and Eila well is that while she is sick she is obedient. She remains smart, funny, and good hearted, only it’s not all mixed with foot stamping, door slamming sulks and demonic screams of “no!!” Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Isn’t health supposed to be conducive to politeness? Isn’t sickness supposed to make you cranky?
I am so pleased that Dmitri Nabokov has decided to publish The Original of Laura. It was touch and go for a while there: having sat on the index cards for 30 years, despite his father’s instruction to burn them, he began a few years ago to discuss with fans and critics the question of what to do, and seemed for a time to be leaning toward the fire.
Apparently Vladimir wanted them destroyed because he was afraid that an unfinished manuscript would be subject to even more vulgar criticism than a finished one. And he was always despairing about the critics: of one of the many Freudians who “twisted” his work, he wrote: “And he will be read, he will be quoted, he will be filed in great libraries, next to my arbors and mists!” Maybe Dmitri was heartened by the many fans who, with love and wit, agreed that the cards should be burned. But we are all glad to have them.