After famous writers die, their souls go the heaven. However, the papers and manuscripts they leave behind stay subject to our puny human laws, the laws of earth, where spouses and publishers and courts all contend to establish who can publish what of the deceased’s work. It isn’t always this way, but, as the Virginia Quarterly Review notes, when it goes bad, it goes annoyingly, stupidly bad:
Poor Inna Grade, wife of Yiddish writer Chaim Grade, was so overly protective of her husband and his work that her death was cheered in literary quarters, as it promised a flood of Chaim’s manuscripts; but it now seems that there are a will and heirs, complicating the issue further. Scholars will have to maintain their holding patterns.
Source: Virginia Quarterly Review
Congratulations to the Virginia Quarterly Review, which won a 2010 Utne Independent Press Award for international coverage.