MARCH/APRIL 2010

MISSED ENCOUNTERS WITH THE MOVIES

SEVEN UNPRODUCED SCREENPLAYS BY FAMOUS INTELLECTUALS

by Elif Batuman

Vladimir Nabokov
As a struggling young writer in Berlin, Vladimir Nabokov once wrote a phenomenally depressing screenplay titled The Love of a Dwarf (1924). The protagonist, a sexually frustrated London circus dwarf, has a one-night stand with the depressed, childless wife of a circus magician. The dwarf quits the circus and retires to a small northern town, waiting vainly for the magician’s wife to join him. Eight years later, she turns up on his doorstep, announces that he has a son, and rushes away. The dwarf pursues her, but dies of a heart attack at her feet. To the gathering onlookers, the magician’s wife announces that her son died a few days ago. In 1939, Esquire printed a short-story version of The Love of a Dwarf, titled “The Potato Elf”: it was Nabokov’s first American publication.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

Elif Batuman’s first book, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, was recently published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She lives in San Francisco.

STAY CONNECTED
News on Facebook Photos on Instagram Stuff on Pinterest Announcements by RSS Sounds on Soundcloud Exclusives on Tumblr Updates on Twitter

Subscribe to our mailing list