March 25, 2005

Nietzsche vs. Oedipus . . .


Forced by the Russian Revolution to flee his native Russia, the novels of Vladimir Nabokov have nonetheless remained popular there, particularly the early novels he composed in Russian. Thus, interest in Nabokov has remained high in Russia, and his son, Dimitry Nabokov, has been “very attentive” to the many biographies and critical volumes about his father and “has never missed a chance to point out inconsistencies or mistakes.” Now, as Victor Sonkin reports in a story for the Moscow Times, Dmitry Nabokov is suing Anatoly Livry for a scholarly study, “Nabokov the Nietzschean.” Sonkin says the publication has led to “a heap of wild accusations from both sides . . . Livry has called Dmitry Nabokov ‘a small Oedipus still struggling with his father’s shadow,’ while Nabokov has described Livry as a hardened criminal who once planned to kill and dismember his ex-wife and her lesbian lover.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.