Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


My Work Here is Undone

My meanderings among the unfinished would be incomplete without mention of Nabokov's The Original of Laura, a work he consigned to the flames but not yet enkindled; Vera famously rescued Lolita from a backyard auto-da-fe, and could not herself put the torch to Laura, passing it on to Dmitri. There is an echo here of my current reading, Hermann Broch's prose-poem-slash-fiction The Death of Virgil, randomly stumbled on in my explorations of eastern European writing (though with a nudge from the Gotham Bookmart staff, towards Sleepwalkers, based on my interest in The Man without Qualities, but as always I sidestepped, being more of a randomwalker, as reflected in the name of this blog, which also bows to the sortes Virgilianae), wherein Virgil's last wish to burn his offering melds classical and modern conceptions of art and its place in life. And it seems one of Nabokov's working titles for Laura was "Dying is Fun" ...

(Addendum: It had occurred to me [before DoV] that Stevenson's death would itself provide ample tinder for literary reinterpretation [Neil Munro notwithstanding], but I'm not aware whether this has been tried. Some of these might ...)


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