London, Jul 10 (ANI): Rights to the final work of late Russian-born American novelist, Vladimir Nabokov’s novella, which has stayed hidden for more than 30 years, has been won by Playboy magazine.
Playboy is to serialise the unfinished novella, ‘The Original of Laura’, and publish it this autumn in what has been widely described as the literary event of the year.
Hugh Hefner’s title won the bidding war this week to carry a hefty, 5,000-word excerpt of the novella.
Nabokov had a long and mutually agreeable relationship with Playboy, which serialised his 1969 novel, Ada, and also conducted a number of important interviews with him, in which he discussed some of the controversy that surrounded his most famous novel, Lolita.
However, there was a disagreement on whether the author would be happy to see a chunk of Laura amid the magazine’s usual fare of scantily clad women and celebrity interviews.
The late writer’s dying wish had been for the uncompleted work to be destroyed by his heirs, but the wish was disregarded and the novella was locked away ever since his death in 1977.
But last spring, Nabokov’s son Dmitri decided to put the book on the market, with Andrew Wylie, a famously predatory literary agent known as “the Jackal”, chosen to market it.
The novella tells the story about an overweight academic in an unhappy marriage to a promiscuous woman.
Playboy’s deal to publish the serialisation on 10 November, a week before the book goes on sale, was the result of a lengthy courtship by the magazine’s literary editor, Amy Grace Loyd, who resorted to sending several shipments of flowers to Wylie.
“I was very persistent, as I often am, and I try forcibly to remind people of our literary history because it is very easy for people to dismiss us,” the Independent quoted her as telling the New York Observer.
“I’m so glad all those orchids did not die in vain,” she added. (ANI)