The third of February, 2011: ignorant institutions and meticulous masterpieces

I was taking a look at the exciting behind-the-green-curtain WordPress data fed to me with regard to my site visitations the other day, and discovered that some curious soul had rocked up at my other blog after searching for ‘Nabokov handwriting’.

The thought of letting down my fanbase makes me sick to my bile. So here is Nabokov’s handwriting.

That’s index card 1 from Chapter 2 of ‘The Original of Laura’, Nabokov’s final (and unfinished) novel, published controversially by Penguin in 2009. Nabokov always wrote on index cards and would only later shuffle them into a novel.

Never mind the rights and wrongs of publication (for what it’s worth, I don’t object to the publication, as long as it’s remembered that this isn’t a finished work – in fact, it isn’t even a work. But it is interesting). What’s most exciting about The Original of Laura is that the index-cards are not only reproduced but detachable, so you can take them out and hold them pretty much as Nabokov would have held them (stood, habitually, at a lectern). This sounds precious, I know, but it is an eerie and ever-so-slightly magical feeling.

It may be, of course, that my anonymous visitor didn’t want to see Nabokov’s handwriting. Maybe he or she was in search of something that Nabokov wrote about handwriting. Or maybe some other Nabokov was meant. Or maybe he or she did want to see a sample of Nabokov’s handwriting, but, in the weeks between him or her conducting the initial search and me writing this post, has lost interest, and no longer searches hopefully for ‘Nabokov handwriting’.

Hope not.


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