I realize that I have been neglectling my Web site, but work has been crazy busy (co-workers reading this will know what I am talking about). Here is an interesting biblio tidbit: Was Nabokov a plagiarist? I guess the term is “cryptomnesia,” meaning he stole his ideas from another author, but he didn’t remember doing it. (Check out the article at the New York Observer: http://www.nyobserver.com/pages/frontpage3.asp). According to recent reports, Nabokov stole the idea for his famous story “Lolita” from a 1916 German story titled … wait for it …Lolita. Yet, there is no evidence that it was plagiarism. The “first Lolita” was only 16 pages long and was published in German (Nabokov’s 300-page treatment of the same subject matter was published in 1958).
“Did “Lolita” rise again in Lolita?” asks the Observer’s Ron Rosenbaum. “Professor Maarâ€™s researches show, he says, that Nabokov lived in the same section of Berlin during the 1920â€™s and 30â€™s. Did Nabokov read, remember, adopt the earlier eerily similar story? Did he do so consciously or unconsciously, by way of a hidden, unacknowledged memory, “cryptomnesia”? If he read the earlier “Lolita,” could he really have utterly forgotten it? Or if he remembered it, why refuse to acknowledge it? Itâ€™s not as if the astonishing work of art that the 300-page novel named Lolita became is diminished by the act of adoption or adaptation. Shakespeareâ€™s plays arenâ€™t diminished by the often-crude source texts he drew on. Itâ€™s not something necessarily shameful, a putative debt to the 1916 “Lolita.”” Interesting indeed.