Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Publishing from the Grave

Way back in January, I blogged about a controversy regarding a work by Vladimir Nobokov that was unfinished at his death. At issue was whether the executor of Nobokov's estate (his son) should honor Nobokov's wishes and not publish the manuscript. Over at Concurring Opinions, Dan Solove has some thoughts on a similar situation that occurred with Franz Kafka:

The famous story about Kafka's papers is that Kafka asked his friend, Max Brod, to burn them after his death. Although Kafka had published a few works during his lifetime, a great many stories, parables, letters, and diary entries were unpublished, as were Kafka's two great book masterpieces, The Trial and The Castle. Brod refused to burn them. Instead, he published them, and Kafka would go on to achieve enormous posthumous fame as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.
But should Brod have done so? It's not a question with an easy answer.

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