Page last updated at 08:26 GMT, Saturday, 26 April 2008 09:26 UK

Last Nabokov work to be published

Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov gained fame - and controversy - with his 1955 novel Lolita

The son of late Lolita author Vladimir Nabokov has defended the decision to publish the novelist's final work - against his father's last wishes.

Dmitri Nabokov told the BBC the thought that no-one would ever read the manuscript was "very disturbing".

The Original of Laura was incomplete when Nabokov died in 1977 and the author told his family to burn it.

"I never could envision myself burning or shredding this marvellous work," Dmitri told BBC Radio 4's Open Book.

"I think my mother, understandably, wanted to satisfy his wishes but could not bring herself to do it. It's such a wonderful thing."

For the last 30 years, the work has been the subject of much speculation in the literary world, with Dmitri offering occasional hints as to its quality.

'Worth preserving'

The author's son, who is also his father's literary executor, told the show he thought his father would eventually have changed his mind about publishing the manuscript.

"I think he would gradually, in a calmer moment, have yielded to the desire of so many people to read this thing, and perhaps to his own desire to preserve what was worth preserving in this work," he said.

He also denied that he would complete the work. "I would never presume to finish my father's works for him, because there are so many strands and threads and thoughts there that perhaps might have been developed further," he said.

"And I simply don't have the right."

The full interview can be heard on Radio 4's Open Book on Sunday at 1600 BST.

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