I’ve been teaching Nabokov’s Lolita this week and came across Zembla, a superb website dedicated to the writer. There has been a lot of noise recently about another, unread, Nabokov book, currently locked away in a vault in Switzerland, but under threat of incineration at the writer’s last request. Slate reported on this story in January but more recent developments suggest Dmitri Nabokov, Vladimir’s son, may be ready to sell it.
Last week we commented on Paul Constant’s article about book theft and the same day ran a poll of readers to see how many people would ‘fess up to the deed. A whole 23 people have responded so far, over half of whom have claimed to live lives without blemish or stain. It makes one’s heart swell with pride to know that a whopping 52 percent of our readers can be trusted. My faith in humanity is restored, truly it is. It is also pleasing to find so many (17 percent) of the respondents to this highly scientific and well thought-out survey are of a radical persuasion and believe all property is theft. If so, hand over the modern first editions I say. And two people have so far claimed preparedness to set themselves up in book acquisition and fencing schemes. They can get in touch using the usual channels.
But most pleasing of all is that after a whole week, The Guardian books blog has finally caught up with us. It is shocking to learn just how depraved and crooked Guardian readers can be.
And finally a couple of weeks ago National Geographic noted the sighting of a white whale. The marine biologist who spotted it is no Ahab chasing his impossible dream. And they wonder why kids don’t want to do science: “I had heard about this whale, but we had never been able to find it,” said Holly Fearnbach, a research biologist with the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle who photographed the rarity. “It was quite neat to find it.”
Posted by Chris Routledge