An anonymous commenter on the previous thread linked to this article in Slate about Dmitri Nabokov's dilemma--should he burn his father's last, unfinished manuscript, as explicitly directed by the great writer? Or should he release it to the world? The younger Nabokov describes the story as quite groundbreaking, but appears to be leaning toward destruction. His reasoning is evidently related to his frustration with chronic public misinterpretation of his father's work.
Personally, that sounds to me uncomfortably like "People are too dumb to deserve to see this." I am pretty much always against the dead writer in such cases, for two reasons. First, I think it's absurdly arrogant to think that you can control your public image after you're dead. In fact, it's foolish to think you can when you're alive. Of course Nabokov's arrogance is part of what made him such a delight--and if anyone actually deserved to be arrogant, it was him. In any event, death is final, and the dead belong to history--as much as, if not more than, they belong to their descendents.
But more importantly, if a writer wants his stuff destroyed, he ought to have the balls to do it when he's alive. And if he doesn't do it when he's alive, then he doesn't really want it destroyed. What kind of wanker puts a burden like this on his surviving family? Vera was originally instructed to burn the note cards (Nabokov wrote on note cards, and in fact it was Vera who saved the ones containing Lolita from the trash incinerator, less then ten blocks from where I'm sitting right now), but couldn't bring herself to do it. And now Dmitri himself is growing old, and he can't do it either.
But now he might. I think this would be a shame. I'll go a step further, in fact, and say right here, out in public, that I enthusiastically encourage Rhian, our kids, and their future offspring to ignore completely any deathbed requests I might happen to make, especially any involving writing. With any luck I'll be tired, old, delirious, and full of shit, and once I'm gone, you may all do whatever you please.