A Moral Tale

Vladimir Nabokov, bad Samaritan?

Cecret Lake in the Albion Basin area near Alta, Utah. Photo: Jeffrey McGrath/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

By Levi Stahl

reat rocks, a lake, and plenty of wildflowers are essential desiderata,” Vladimir Nabokov wrote to James Laughlin, his publisher, in the spring of 1943 as he searched for a place to work on a Guggenheim-supported novel. Laughlin knew just the spot: Alta Lodge, the ski resort he co-owned in the mountains near Salt Lake City. With tourism…