Vladimir Nabokov ✓ 7 REVIEWI wasn t even going to write a eview of Lolita after finishing it because honestly how many eviews does this classic need That is until I started pocking around and Media, Mobilization and the Umbrella Movement reading what others have to say about it Manyeactions to this book are puzzling to me In this world of Jerry Sanduskys and such there are still people who find this erotic who in the end feel some kind of compassion toward the narrator who think that Lolita was the one who seduced and manipulated poor Humbert Well I beg to differ Lolita is as erotic as Speak is pornographic As for favorable opinions of Humbert I guess it is possible this effect can be attributed to Nabokov s mastery of deception Clearly Humbert still half a century after the novel s publication manages to fool Getting a Life with Asperger's: Lessons Learned on the Bumpy Road to Adulthood readers and himself into believing that he is a dedicated caring lover wounded and changed by an early tragicomance Only occasionally does the truth bleed through his self delusion Lolita s wistful glance at a child sitting on his father s lap a simple act that is forever sallied by Humbert s filth her disinterest in life her Wie ich Brad Pitt entführte resignation to satisfy him for pocket money and permission to participate in a school play No Humbert did not fool me into feeling sorry for him On a technical level Lolita deserves full 5 stars the language the wit the world play I don t think I ve everead anything like this before But emotionally this look into a pedophile s psyche is so disgusting I can t uite bring myself to Encyclopedia of Management Development Methods rate it so Humbert is so sicklyeal to me with his apologies justifications of his behavior cowardice sob stories and bending of eality how does an author create someone like this How did Nabokov get such an intimate knowledge of someone so despicable Pushing the boundaries of what acceptable literature can actually be Lolita is very much a piece of art For many years I kept hearing about this book the content sounding disturbing and perhaps even slightly fascinating It s a book that s central theme is one of the darkest elements of mankind paedophilia And although such a thing is beyond evolting it is used to tell the tale of a very lost and very lonely man Humbert is a man to be pitied pitied because he actually exists A child in a man s body unable to move on from what was to him the most perfect memory Humbert s obsession with youth takes on the form of paedophilia he becomes attracted to this idea of purity and develops strong sexual feelings towards it Humbert knows he is a monster but he just doesn t care To him his feelings are perfectly justifiable natural even He has an incredibly distorted view of the Other formerly shocking novels of previous centuries have lost their power batteries uite flat Madame Bovary Ulysses Lady Chatterly s Lover we love them still but we wince no we may be uite amused at the idea that this word or that idea was not allowed in polite society we may indeed be vastly amused at the very idea of polite society because society is just not very polite at all these days But uniuely Lolita this great and appalling novel only gets shocking and dangerous as the years go by as and paedophilia is uncovered every other day in the news in nurseries in hard drives in the highest of churches as the paranoia spreads I found myself uite nervous about even being seen France is a Feast: The Photographic Journey of Paul and Julia Child reading Lolita at work And very glad the cover was an awful grey with a hideous attempt at a butterfly in the corner and not the suggestive white socks and short school skirt of some editions Lolita is the blackest of all comedies the blackness of a deep mine of human corruption with all the canaries long dead in the poisonous atmosphere It s a comedy about depravity You want to know what depravity is These days that s a uaint word Reminds me of thatisible phrase of the censors a tendency to deprave and corrupt Here is depravity This was an orphan This was a lone child an absolute waif with whom a heavy limbed foul smelling adult had had strenuous intercourse three times that very morning p140When during our longer stops I would Kandinsky relax after a particularly violent morning in bed and out of the goodness of my lulled heart allow her indulgent Hum to visit theose garden or the children s library p160Thrusting my fatherly fingers deep into Lo s hair from behind and then gently clasping them around the nape of her neck I would lead my Blood Orange reluctant pet to our small home for a uick connection before dinner p164 and her sobs in the night every night every night the moment I feigned sleep p176Depraved is when you don t wish to acknowledge the pain youe doling out as you feast and guzzle or yes you do acknowledge it with a sad shrug oh la alas it is sad but that is how it is or perhaps it s when these tears this misery makes your pleasure even piuant and delectable I think Humbert bounces gently between the three Yes poor little Lo As he says himself I entered a plane of being where nothing mattered save the infusion of joy brewed within my body As you Trial by Fire (All We Hold Dear (Sequel) Book 2) read Lolita the uncomfortable feeling steals over you that whilst VN had no direct knowledge of his grisly subject nevertheless he d thought about it a bit too much In HH s mind and we are never out of it we go fumbling frolicking frottaging and frothing in paroxysms of nympholepsy we hang over his shoulder the whole time wee with him during every bated glimpse of little Lo s long languid limbs drooling always drooling and of course we e with him from first spurt to last VN didn t have to write about a highly intelligent highly cultured paedophile That was his big fat choice WHY PAEDOPHILIAI stumbled upon this uote from the wonderfully named Leland de la Durantaye in the Village Voice To search for the experiences leading to a work of art is as natural as not finding themI m not altogether sure what VN was up to Yes Lolita is a case study but VN hated Freud And Psychoanalysis Yes and psychoanalysis Yes s a criminal confession but VN was a writer obsessed with self eflecting introverted solipsistic linguistic game playing those are the novels he wrote from Ada to Pnin to Pale Fire parodies all and he eally wasn t much interested in ealism If you were picking your team of Dziewczynka realistic novelists Vlad the Impaler wouldn t even be a substitute So it s ironic that his one and only famous I meaneally famous novel is about a giant social problem which is always as fresh as today s headlines and never gets old just like those nymphetsLOVE IS THE SWEETEST THINGPerhaps Lolita is VN s meditation on love Because Humbert loves little Lo He tells us so in such gorgeous sentences that you would have to have a heart of stone not to believe him That must be itThis nymphet thing it s an idea an erotic ideal not a person VN s Humbert is constantly in search of a human being who most closely embodies this ideal He s actually not interested in little girls at all finds them unpleasant except insofar at they personify the nymphet idea At that point he turns into a sick junkie whose connection has just arrived But the girl will only be desirable for two maybe three years As soon as the girl in uestion grows up passes into adolescence the poor paedophile turns away in disgust And of course there can be very little connection between the two interested parties except on the level of carnality because one of the parties is a middle aged male and the other is a 12 year old child Humbert s obsession condemns both of them to profound loneliness as well as morbid co dependency he can t allow either of them to have any normal friendships This whole hideous situation is laid out for our bug eyed perusal the fulfillment which can only ever be coercive the love which can only ever be ape the elationship which can only ever be damaging Humbert loves his little Lo We know because he tells us so Don t think I can go on Heart head everything Lolita Lolita Lolita Lolita Lolita Lolita Lolita Lolita Lolita Lolita Lolita Lolita Lolita Lolita Repeat till the page is full printer p109And I looked and looked at her and knew as clearly as I know I am to die that I loved her than anything I had ever seen or imagined on earth or hoped for anywhere else p277Even if those eyes of hers would fade to myopic fish and her nipples swell and crack and her lovely young velvety delta be tainted and torn even then would I go mad with tenderness at the mere sight of your dear wan face at the mere sound of your accous young voice my Lolita p278In 1963 Phil Spector put out a single by The Crystals written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King called He Hit Me And it Felt Like a Kiss it took them a week or so to ealize that their audience found the song epulsive and it was withdrawn But that idea of what love is can be found in every other courtroom I found her in bed with another man so naturally I shot her I loved her so much but she told me she was leaving so of course I killed her I couldn t stand the thought of her leaving She died because I loved her I loved her to death Day in day out this is the love in many men s minds This is the cold polar opposite of If You Love Somebody Set Them Free That happy sentiment is thought to be Not Love At All by many people Possession is nine tenths of the conjugal domain HH owns Lolita she can t go anywhere He glories in how much his she is Oh Lolita you are my girl as Vee was Poe s and Bea Dante s and what little girl would not like to whirl in a circular skirt and scanties p107Maybe that nasty Nabokov is suggesting that the nature of love is that love does not care about the loved one not eally it says it does but when you look at the thing closely it doesn t The weddings the honeymoons the diamonds the sweet words all of it maybe that s just for your benefit all bribes Could even Vlad be that cynical MaybeHUMBERT HUMBERT WAS GAYI think this theory is Bayou Country Bloodsport reductive demeaning and wrong But he was very campTHOUSANDS OF LOLITASChildhood for girls didn t used to be as protected as it is now in the west and it still isn t of course for many girls in many countries in 2011 Humbert s crimes against Lolita would not be seen as crimes at all in many places There are plenty of tour guides who will assist you if you want to be Humbert for a week or two in Vietman or Cambodia There s thousands of Lolitas out there if that s your cup of tea In the West the Victorians invented childhood and their earnesteformers tried and eventually succeeded in sweeping away the crowds of child prostitutes which thronged Hyde Park and the other thoroughfares of London as they did in the time of Samuel Johnson Liberal Western culture has e engineered the whole notion of childhood but it s
Perpetually Under AttackFrom The Lancashire Telegraph Don T Take Awayunder attackFrom the Lancashire telegraph Don t take away childhood say East Lancashire mums240pm Wednesday 22nd June 2011PUSH up bras for nine year olds WAG slogan T shirts for pre schoolers and high heeled shoes for toddlers These might sound like ludicrous concepts but over the past year a string of high street etailers have been criticised for selling such itemsVERY ODDLolita is a strange book After grinding away in the literary undergrowth for decades catching butterflies and dodging Nazis VN spent 5 years writing it and a couple years finding a publisher and then WHAM Number one best seller Fame notoriety and heaps of crisp dollar notes came aining down He uit his job and left America lived a swish life in Switzerland He was in his late 50s and he s written a novel everyone wanted to ead and I am going to guess few people actually finished Lolita displaced Anatomy of a Murder as the No 1 bestseller and was Esperanza renace replaced in turn by Doctor Zhivago Those first eager purchasers they were looking for a shocking frolick and they got a second James Joyce brilliant wild too clever by half terrifying wittyevolting and of course ferociously cultivated Was that what they wantedYou ead novels and you think well this was good but that plot there or this conclusion or that style could have been improved you know so only 35 stars But Lolita is a novel which writes its own ules a mesmerising mashup of horror beauty wildness syntactical dexterity and adventures in extreme obsession and extreme vocabulary a novel that I am amazed exists at all Now this is going to be embarrassing to admitAs we all should know American Masters of the Mississippi Gulf Coast: George Ohr, Dusti Bonge, Walter Anderson, Richmond Barthe reading and enjoying a book is largely about interpretation People are not the same and we all view things differently one individual might see aelationship in a book as passionate while another could see it as damaging When characters make bad decisions some will view it as stupidity and others will view it as an accurate epresentation of humanity s imperfections Not only that but time often changes the way one person sees things A teenager does not usually have the same outlook on life and elationships that someone of thirty does and neither of them have the same outlook as someone of seventy doesSo it s time that I admit when Sitzungs-Berichte Der Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde Zu Berlin: Jahrgang 1893 (Classic Reprint) reading this at thirteen my younger brain actuallyomanticised Humbert s depravity and saw the From Muslim to Christian Granada relationship between him and Lolita as some tragic love affair It was surprise surprise Tatiana seview that made me wonder if I d had a screw loose when eading this years ago Her interpretation was so far from what I emembered that I simply had to find time for a Resonance of Suffering: Countertransference in Non-Neurotic Structures reead This summer I did just that I am going to point the shameful finger of blame at my age when I first ead it I was as fooled by Humbert as the young Lolita wasHumbert is not a eliable narrator his declaration that Lolita was Domesticating Drink: Women, Men, and Alcohol in America, 1870-1940 responsible for seducing him isepulsive and wrong Because in the end an adult has no excuse for having sex with a child even if they Lord Byron at Harrow School: Speaking Out, Talking Back, Acting Up, Bowing Out re walking around half naked and offering themselves up adults have aesponsibility not to take advantage of children And I now Teaching Machines: Learning from the Intersection of Education and Technology realise this case is no exception This is not some tragicomantic tale about forbidden love it is the story of how a grown man Sisi: Empress on Her Own repeatedlyaped a young girl The fact that it is so easy to be taken in by him either says something about how brilliant a writer Nabokov is which he is or how much society still loves to blame the victimI don t know whether to feel better about my original feelings or be horrified that even the description for the audiobook describes the novel as a love story almost shocking in its beauty and tenderness And I also know that I have no ight to criticise other people who saw it in such a way but I would ask you to ead it again to look beyond Humbert s snivelling and self pity to see the man who considers murdering a woman so he can be free to have sex with her twelve year old daughter the man who feels sorry for himself when a young girl doesn t want to have sex with him because she s still hurt from the last time Is that love Maybe it was for a thirteen year old looking through Humbert s perverted eyes but I m glad I understand it better nowNabokov has written a brilliant and disturbing novel my opinion of it hasn t changed in that espect I found 11 hours 28 minutes When it was published in 1955 Lolita immediately became a cause célèbre because of the freedom and sophistication with which it handled the unusual erotic predilections of its protagonist But Vladimir Nabokov's wise ironic elegant masterpiece owes its stature as one of. .
T surprisingly easy to ead and became absorbed uickly even all those years ago His portrayal of Humbert s perverted mind is scarily good perhaps even too good if people can so easily be convinced to side with a paedophile which is often The Life of Samuel Johnson regarded as the ultimate crime of all isn t it Even cold blooded murderers go after prisoners who ve messed with kids And as much as I feel ashamed for being so taken in by Humbert I know that it s not just me who was fooled Hell even the GR description proves it But believe me Lolita is a victim and no amount of saddening flashbacks to Humbert s past can change that Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Tumblr Nymph Nymphet Nymphetiuette Nymphology Nymphism I will never think of 12 year old girls the same way There s a stain on my brain The power of this book is that it s creepy and taboo but the pedophilia and incest is so d I onceepresented a man who had been accused of statutory ape and sexual exploitation of a minor I did it because it is my job and I fundamentally believe that everyone no matter how heinous the crime alleged deserves a fair trialThat said it was the single most unpleasant experience of my legal career and high in the unning for most unpleasant all timeIn popular culture we are inundated with scenes of crime and violence we live in a morally A Wizard in Love relative landscape where to each his own is taken to Bohemian extremesBut sexual attention towards children in any context is universallyeviled and vilifiedLo Lee TaVladimir Nabokov s 1955 novel is masterful prose Like Joseph Conrad before him it is understatement to say that his virtuosity in English not his first language literature is impressiveYes it is about a pervert a sex offender a child apist A brute A monsterHumbert Humbert names himself such Whether sympathetic chronicler or unreliable narrator I will leave for each eader s interpretation but either way Nabokov has demonstrated his consummate skill with a character as enigmatic and iconoclastically established in modern literature as to be a shadowy lurker in the black alleys of our most maligned societyNabokov s narration told from the prison diary of HH is erudite witty and humorous The author s stylish ability is incomparable In spite of the subject matter I had to laugh many times at the way he crafted his narrative especially his droll word play and numerous double entendresThis is presented as a first person letter Tigers in Normandy recommended by his lawyer of his unfortunate attraction to nymphets a girl child between the ages of 9 and 14 and to his particular seduction of his erstwhile step daughter Dolores whom he affectionately calls Lolita Several times throughout the chronicle the tragi comic protagonist entreats the attention of the gentlemen of the jury He describes his yearlong affair with the child in words that are at timesepentant and Presidential Secrecy and the Law remorseful and at other times attempting a justification and explanation of his actsHumburt a European migr to our shores also fills his account joyriding as they do across America with an ongoing ironic observation of our culture Nabakov could use this all as an extended allegory for old world attraction with our new world s and customs Lolita then would be the central focus of this fascination and a living metaphor for America at once childlike and alluringBrilliantly written with a shamefully outrageous subject once theeader ecovers from the shock uotient if the eader ecovers this is a wealth of literary genius and style Between the CoversAfter e Master Plots: Race and the Founding of an American Literature, 1787-1845 reading Lolita I asked my local bookseller if she d everead itShe City Schools: Lessons from New York replied firmly Noand I m not going to either He s a paedophile A bit taken aback I enuired further Who The author or the character Fortunately sheeplied The character For me this exchange showed how much Lolita can still sharply divide opinion even within lovers of fictionThis wasn t the conversation I had been hoping forI had The Widow's Lawman read Lolita in a couple of days less time than my work commitments normally allow me but I found it incredibly easy toeadEven though I was taking notes even though I was conscious that Nabokov was playing games even if I didn t always know what game even though there were unfamiliar words I should have looked up I was constantly drawn towards the conclusionI wanted to talk to someone about my experience straight awayMy cheeks were still flushed my nerve endings were still tingling I had experienced the spine thrill of delight I felt like I had just had sex with a bookNow not being a smoker all I needed was some post coital conversationAnd there was no one around to converse withAnd the book wasn t giving away any of its secrets than it already hadNor was it going to tell me I had been a Good Reader or that it had appreciated my attentivenessIt was back between the covers challenging me to start againThree Act Word PlayAt a superficial level Lolita is a The Story Within relatively straight forward novelOnce you know that it concerns sexualelations between 37 year old Humbert Humbert and 12 year old Dolores Lolita Hayes you just about know the plotThere s a beginning a middle and an endA grooming a consummation an aftermathNabokov makes of his material a three act playAnd he does so playfully seductively lyrically charmingly amusingly dangerouslyTo this day I cannot look at Humbert s initials HH without pronouncing them in German Ha Ha and wondering whether the joke is on usBeneath the skin of the novel there is much There is a whole complex living organismYou can lose yourself within its arms for days weeks months a lifetimeAs long as your love of wordplay your love of words and play will permit youAgain at a superficial level there is an almighty conflict between morality and aesthetics happening between the pagesWhether or not Nabokov deliberately put the conflict there he put the subject matter thereWe the eaders can supply our own conflict in the way we ead his novelNabokov knew the subject matter would inflame us if not our desires then at least our morals our sense of God Gave Me a Mulligan: A Journalist's Life in War and Peace righteousnessMorality and aesthetics are intertwined within the fabric of the novelThey embrace each other in one long deatholl just like Humbert Humbert and Clare uiltyWe watch their interaction open mouthed open minded but ultimately they have to be pulled apart or separatedWhen they are together they are oneWhen they are apart they are each other s doubleThe Morality of the StoryThere is no doubt that sexual Elephant Slaves and Pampered Parrots: Exotic Animals in Eighteenth-Century Paris relations between an adult and a minor are not just immoral but criminal as wellThat is an unuestionable factFrom a legal point of view the motive of the adult is irrelevant to the proof of the crimeThe consent of the minor is irrelevant to the proof of the crimeIf Humbert had been charged with an offence of sexualelations with a minor he would have had no legal defenceAny uestion as to whether Lolita eally seduced Humbert would have been irrelevantIn fact the evidence might not even have been admissible except potentially as part of the determination of the penaltyIn other words even if it was elevant to penalty it was not The Rise and Fall of the Biopsychosocial Model: Reconciling Art and Science in Psychiatry relevant to guiltBecause morality is a social construct that depends on collective endorsement he had no moral defence eitherThe personal views of the individual are noteally that elevant to society s determination that an act is immoralThe choice of the individual is to comply or offendOf Traps and CagesHumbert offended not just once but untold numerous times over two yearsHe carefully planned his seduction he set his trap he caught his prey even if someone might want to argue that this 12 year old seductress walked voluntarily into the trapHaving freed Lolita from the trap he imprisoned her in a cage and epeated his crimeAgain someone could argue that she had plenty of opportunities to flee the cage which she eventually didBut Humbert surrounded Lolita with an elaborate system of self doubt that convinced her that she would become a ward of the state if they were found outThe Legality of the Confession Lolita is written from Humbert s point of viewIt is not just a Jewish Thought, Utopia, and Revolution recollection in his mind it is a formal written documentHe sat down and wrote it in 56 days between his capture in 1952 charged only with the crime of murdering Clare uilty and his death in prison before his trial could occurFor me the written document is a fascinating choice of literary device to tell the storyThe document becomes a book within a bookWhile Nabokov obviously wrote it all that he purports to do is sandwich it between a Foreword and a much later AfterwordThis device sets up an interestingelationship between Humbert and the eaderFor Humbert it is akin to a confession or a witness statementTo this extent what he confesses to is clearly enough to convict him of the crime of murderHowever in it he also sets out details of crimes that for "whatever eason he was never charged withIf his lawyer had ead the document while he was still alive "reason he was never charged withIf his lawyer had ead the document while he was still alive would probably have excised all of the other confessions because they would have prejudiced his client s case at least with espect to penaltyThe Role of the JuryFor the eader the confession defines our The Monacan Indian Nation of Virginia: The Drums of Life relationship to the events that are describedWe are cast in theole of a member of the JuryThis device allows heinous moral and criminal acts to be described and ead and examined within a legal and therefore legitimate frameworkIn a sense the book becomes a eport of sorts on legal proceedingsWe become legitimate observers and listeners to something that might otherwise have been prurient and offensive and illegalYet we have to do our duty and participate in the legal process because it is an important part of the justice systemEven though we have a legitimate interest in participating I wonder whether we are still voyeuristicNabokov has trapped us in a game that persuades us that it is serious but ends up being just as playful and perverse as the subject matter of the crimeIn a way Nabokov makes us complicit in a crime if not Humbert s crime then perhaps our own thought crimeIt is also material that by the time Humbert s confession is Murder in Gutenthal read both Humbert and Lolita have died of natural causesHumbert speaks from the other side of deathNobody is alive nobody can be hurt any than they already haveThe Confessions of an Unreliable Narrator The Fox and the PeacockI explored these issues because I wanted to understand Humbert s motivation for his confessionHe is effectively pleading guiltyI don t see any prospect for an insanity defence even though he seemed to have been in and out of sanatoria at times of crisisEually I don t think that anything heeveals would educe the penalty for the murderTo do so he only needed to focus on his concern that uilty had wronged Lolita in some way even worse than his own actionsBut to confess all of these other
Crimes Seems To Beseems to be productiveSimilarly I don t think he was lying about the detail I think that he was telling the truth and that he was telling the truth so that he could be understood no no lessHumbert s confession is not just the fiction of a dirty old man it is not false or fabricated it is not a mirageNo matter how immoral no matter how deluded no matter how selfish and narcissistic it is his fact his eality his truth his burden his shameHis actions were the pursuit of a ational man not an insane oneHe was film star handsome educated intellectual talented witty charming calculating calculated
*dangerousthere is no *is no that he was a talented performer an exceptional playerHowever Humbert is not an actor wearing a mask performing some other fictional character or version of himselfI believe that we are seeing him for what he eally isHe is as cunning tricky sly as a fox and as Lassie Come-Home refined elaborate attractive as a peacockHis decoration his ornamentation is part of him his life his loins his sin his soulIn pursuit of Lolita he was prepared to lie and deceive in order to achieve his goalI don t believe that he was prepared to lie to us if only because there was no point in lyingWhen occasionally he uestions the veracity of his own account it is solely to uestion the accuracy of his memoryHowever he didn t need to tell lies to achieve leniency he didn t need to tell the truth for some ulterior motiveBy confessing to anything he would only be found guilty of crimes he hadn t been charged with in addition to the charge of murder he had been accused ofThere was no point in confessing to anything extra other than to tell the truth as he saw itIt wasn t going to get him any sympathy oreduce his penalty if anything his disclosures would aggravate his penaltyTo this extent I don t consider Humbert an unreliable narrator I The People from the Sea realise that some mightespond that paedophiles are habitual liars and can t help themselvesThat might well be the case but I think it is our horror at his crime our moral judgment affecting our assessment of the whole of the person and shaping our aesthetic St Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves response to the book and the characterPerhaps naively I want to find some good in himUltimately whether or not Humbert s love was morally wrong I believe that he wanted us to understand his love and what he learned about his love by the end of his story What We Talk about When We Talk about Humbert s LoveTechnically the sexualelations between Humbert and Lolita are not an example of paedophilia which is a sexual preference for a pre pubescentWhile nothing moral or legal turns on the distinction the sexual elations constitute hebephilia which is a sexual preference for a person in the early stage of pubertyThe name derives from Hebe the Greek goddess of youthHer name means youth or prime of life and she personified both youth and immortalityShe was the cup bearer who served nectar to the Olympian Gods to give them everlasting youthFirst Part Obsessive LoveFor me during the first part of the book Humbert s love was forbidden but genuineIt was a transgressive love in that it was a love of the particular aesthetic form that youth takes between the ages of ten and fifteenThe body is at its most perfect it has not started to age to wrinkle to fill out to droop to deteriorateAfter that age the body starts to age and he finds that physically unattractive as in the case of his first wife and Lolita s motherOK we all make choices about our love objectsHow can we account for our choicesThere s no accounting for loveStill at the heart of this aesthetic approach to love is a fear or disgust at aging and mortalityThere is an unreality a lack of understanding and acceptance of the cycle of life and death a Peter Pan desire to stay forever young forever immortalI also think there is a self love or narcissism inherent in this aesthetic viewI love the young because I love the perfect form of my own youthSince my youth I have fallen morally and physicallyI therefore have to preserve the visage of my own youthI wonder whether it is only possible to have this view if you have never had your own biological childPa. The twentieth century's novels of ecord not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story almost shocking in its beauty and tendernessAwe and exhilaration along with heartbreak and mordant wit abound in this account of the aging Humber. Ninth City Burning (War of the Realms, reality of agingIt is an illusion to believe that you can live and defeat itBut tell that to the cosmetics industrySo far I have talked of love in the abstractIn the first part of the book I struggled to understand Humbert s love and the above is what I came up withI won t say I had a sympathy for him but I think I understood him and his loveI even understood his obsessivenessHow many of us during the first throes of love trap and oppress our love object so much so that we are not able to see how oppressive we were until after theelationship has been consummated or morphed into something mature or endedHowever things started to change at the end of the first part the consummation and into the second part the imprisonmentOf course the love had to be consummated but as unexceptional as the description of the event was it highlighted the Der Ritter und die Bastardtochter reality that the first part was a trap for Lolita to walk intoAs playful and lyrical as the language might have been it was sinister in intentSecond Part Captivating LoveDuring the second part having captured Lo Humbert makes it clear that his love will last no than three years to be precise 1 January 1947 to 1 January 1950 which are effectively her 12th to 15th birthdaysAfter this statistically at least Lo will morph out of her nymphet formSo Humbert s love is solely for a definitive phase of her entire life after which he expects and intends to abandon herDuring this phase Humbert s goal is to maintain Lolita in captivity to ensure her availability for him alone There is no fairy tale promise of happily ever after or til death do us part in this love actionThere is no love or concern for the other only selfishness and narcissismI have tried to view the definition of beauty that appeals to Humbert as an aesthetic issueI have tried to divorce it from morality so I can understand it betterHowever whether I think of it in terms of aesthetics or morality obsession or love the fact that it could be switched on and off at such identifiable times turned me against HumbertHe is in control of this feeling called love at least he knows with clinical precision when he willeturn to normality or a state of not lovingHis love was a drug that he took too knowingly he knew precisely when the feeling of the drug would wear offSo I started to believe that there was no loss of self in his loveInstead it was a heightened or gross act of narcissismBy extension there was no sense in which he tried to satisfy Lo personally or sexuallyThere was no sense of a mutually satisfying elationship or intercourse although to be fair he doesn t go into the sexual detail except in terms of physical exertionHowever I got the sense that when it came to consummating his love it was just about sticking his dick into his love objectOK lots of sexual elationships can be educed to this fundamental penetrative actSome men see femaleness as no than a eceptacle for maleness and its fluid manifestation the cup into which they spill their seedHowever I started to feel in the second part that Humbert s aim was to defile or despoil the beauty that had appealed to him in the first part even if it was transgressiveAnd the three year zone of enchantment highlighted to me that Humbert would just go in search of the next beautiful nymphet to stick his dick intoSo it became increasingly apparent to me that he was a serial despoiler of beauty not a genuine lover or admirer of beautyThere is a hatred or disgust hotwired into this loveYou don t normally hate the flowers in your vase when it comes time to Blessed Are the Wicked remove them and throw them in the dustbinBut you get the sense that Humbert would have been disgusted by his former love objects his objet d obsession the moment that calendar clicked overObviously this same disgust or loss of interest appears in traditionalelationshipsIt could lie behind the mid life crisis when the guy uns away with the younger womanIt could explain the inability to accept the inevitability of aging at least in our partnerIt could explain we males who still picture ourselves as the immutable 20 year old who deserves a young and nubile partner no matter how soft or old or fat or ugly we have becomeSo Humbert s love can teach the est of us something about our own loveLast Part Adult Love DeniedI wrote most of my comments about the second part before I had finished eading the last part of the novelI have to emphasise that most of what turned me against Humbert came from my eaction to his own wordsNeither he nor Nabokov held back the material that would make me hate himStill I ead on firmly in their constrictive embrace until chapter 29 when Humbert and the seventeen year old married and pregnant Dolores meet againWhat you think of Humbert and his love whether or not you think he is lying depends on your interpretation of the confessions in this chapter there she was with her uined looks and her adult ope veined narrow hands and her gooseflesh white arms and her shallow ears and her unkempt armpits there she was my Lolita hopelessly worn at seventeen with that baby and I looked and I looked at her and knew as clearly as I know I am to die that I loved her than anything I had ever seen or imagined on earth or hoped for anywhere else What I used to pamper among the tangled vines of my hearthad dwindled to its essence sterile and selfish vice all that I cancelled and cursed You may jeer at me and threaten to clear the court but until I am gagged and half throttled I will shout my poor truth I insist the world
know how much I loved my Lolita this Lolita pale and pollutedhow much I loved my Lolita "THIS LOLITA PALE AND POLLUTED BIG "Lolita pale and polluted big another s child but still gray eyed still sooty lashed still auburn and almond still Carmencita still mine This is just one part of Humbert s journeyHe ealised that he still loved her outside the hebephile zoneHowever he still clung to his Lolita the Lolita of his deluded version of loveObviously Dolores is and never was his version of Grauwacht reality she was her own person and she declines his love a second timeOnly then does heecognise that he did not know a thing about his darling s mind or that a North American girl child named Dolores Haze had been deprived of her childhood by a maniac Then he uotes an old poet presumably Nabokov himself The moral sense in mortals is the duty We have to pay on mortal sense of beauty In other words you can t just indulge an aesthetic sense of beauty at the expense of a eal human being it comes attached to and constrained by moralityMorality taboo and the law work together to protect innocence and beauty from those who would defile and despoil itHe was not above the law he was no Nietzschian SupermanHe was the fool in his own playThe TragedyThere are suggestions that Nabokov saw Humbert s story as a tragedy that Humbert only ealised that he genuinely loved Dolores by conventional standards when it was too lateThat might be so but Humbert only had himself to blameHe was a victim of his own hand and his tragedy was nothing compared with the one he made Dolores endure so that he too selfishly for love could have his Lolita An old friend used to say that Ulysses was a good book to Lies, Damned Lies, and History read but not a good book toead After The New World reading Lolita I understand what he meantNabokov was a man obsessed with word games and this book is crammed cover to cover with many brilliant examples Language delighted the man and that certainly comes across What makes this acheivement even amazing was that English was his third or fourth language It is mind blowing that he or anyone could write so fluidly in a foreign tongue If this was enough to make a novel great then this would be one of my top tenBut what if as aeader you demand that an author make his characters compelling and the narrative involving I would say then that this book is not for you Humbert and Dolores Haze Lolita only ever to my mind become three dimensional at odd moments here and there He comes off as a mincing foppish but ultimately unbelievable sort I never bought into him until very near the end when for a few sentences Nabokov makes his You Wouldn't Want to Be an Inca Mummy!: A One-way Journey You'd Rather Not Make remorse credible But it is too late for that I was already annoyed as hell by hisococo narration The character of Lolita as well is shrill and one note through out Only intermittently does she come across as worthy of compassion As for the story once the seduction takes place it loses a lot of its forward momentum It begins to feel epetitive and only comes alive again when Humbert eaches the very end of his self control and attempts to lash out at one he believes wronged him All in all I think this is a book that could stand to lose about fifty pages There is much to love about it though It could have been truly eplusive Nabokov knew that his concept was already off putting and that the execution need not be so Rather than serving up spewing fluids and hungry orifices he treats us to healthy doses of wit and charm BravoLolita is obviously literature with a capital L It is a work by a man of letters who happened to be a genius for that eason alone it deserves eading Just don t be surprised that once you e done you don t feel like Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land recommending it to anyone Astoundingly beautiful prose a self aware psychotic narrator who is both unapologetic and yet disgusted by his crimeso many themes in this book so much symmetry 342 Humbert Humbert knows he is both brilliant and insanely obsessed with pre pubescent girls He tortures his psychiatrists cunningly leading them on never letting them see he knew every trick of the trade P 34 He becomes a lodger with Ms Haze a widow and sees his nymphet in her yard a blue sea wave swelled under his heart and from a mat in a pool of sun half naked kneeling turning about on her knees there was my Riviera love peering at me over dark glasses P 39 He obsesses over Lo listening in his fateful diary to details as minor as the staccato sound a toilet paperoll makes as it turns P 49 The text is both eprehensible and
*hilarious the writing *the writing being of a sublimely dreamy uality Was Roth inspired by this scene when he wrote of Nathan Zuckerman hunting around the oom of Amy Bellette in The Ghost WriterFate throws HH and his Lo together no spoilers I promise HH holds a クロネコ彼氏の甘え方 [Kuroneko Kareshi no Amaekata] reformatory existence over her asansom for the naughtiness he extracts There are a few epic Sneeuwwitje moet sterven road tripsAs we pushed westward patches of what the garbage man called sage brush appeared and then the mysterious outlines of table like hills and thened bluffs ink blotted with junipers and then a mountain Slavík range dun grading into blue and blue into dream and the desert would meet us with a steady gale dust gray thorn bushes and hideous bits of tissue paper mimicking pale flowers among the prickles of wind tortured withered stalks all along the highway in the middle of which there sometimes stood simple cows immobilized in a position tail left eyelashesight cutting across all human Clouds From Both Sides rules of traffic P 153How did Nabokov pull this off He arrived in the US in 1941 and conceived Lolita during a drive out in the Western US in 1955 otherwise how could you explain the precision andealism of the above sentence This being his third work in a non native English language translated by him back to Russian in 1965 parenthetically are there any The Economy As An Evolving Complex System II russophoneseading this post that have Korsika Und Die (Fast) Ungewollte Dezimierung Seiner Bevolkerung read both the English and Russian Lolitas What is the Russian one likeI love this description of an otherwise nondescript gas station in the middle of nowhere I stared in such dull discomfort of mind at those stationary trivialities that looked almost surprised like staringustics to find themselves in the stranded traveller s field of vision that green garbage can those very black very whitewalled tires for sale those bright cans of motor oil that A BRIEF CATECHISM OF BIBLE DOCTRINE red icebox with assorted drinks the four five seven discarded bottles within the incomplete crossword puzzle of their wooden cells that bug patiently walking up the inside of the window of the office P 211I could only dream of aspiring to write descriptions like that and English is my native language Pure genius There is a lot of tennis in the novel particularly towards the end leading me to wonder if DFW was a huge Nabakov fan being similarly obsessed with thr sport Here is a description of chess that certainly must have given DFW some inspirationI saw the board as a suare as of limpid water withare shells and stratagems Rood, of waarom pesten niet grappig is rosily visible upon the smooth tessellated bottom which to my confused adversary was all ooze and suid cloud P 233There is a wonderful little poem near the endThe moral sense in mortals is the dutyWe have to pay on mortal sense of beauty P 283The central problem in the novel is of course HH s seduction of Lo and her sometimes complicityebelling against the mother who never loved her But both he and Lo are aware that he is a shamIt had become gradually clear to my conventional Lolita during our singular and bestial cohabitation that even the most miserable of family lives was better than the parody of incest which in the long The Routledge Handbook of Moral Epistemology run was the best I could offer the waif P 287Nabokov insisted that there is no moral to this novel it is neither a condoning or condemnation of incest That kind of judgmental attitude would clearly haveuined the text That being said we clearly see that HH is a hopeless pervert and a predator a father s worst nightmare and we see how Lo ends up lost but defiant to the end The topic is of course extremely taboo but Nabakov s gift to get inside of HH s head and show us how dark and twisted his Colonial South Carolina: A History rational is as well as the clear damage it causes to Lolita serves to condemn the aspect of using one s intellectual and physical power as well as a way of subjugating a young victim to predation That this particular victimevealed her inner strength in both the struggle and the capitulation is what makes it great literature If we contrast this with Boris Vian s I ll Spit On Your Graves from 1946 where Freitags in der faulen Kobra raping little girls is just a way of blowing off steam andebelling against the system we see that Lolita and HH are self conscious characters whereas the first person protagonist in Vian is just a licentious violent psychopath with zero guilt or Figura Cryptica. Theorie Der Literarischen Latenz restraint and with no conscience other than someacist pseudo socialist idealsLolita is a novel of extraordinary power and beauty in which Nabokov challenges us to ead beyond our disgust and fear and live uncomfortably in HH s mind for 300 beautifully written pages Hard to forget and impossible to ignore it is Nabokov s greatest contribution to literature imho LUST AND LEPIDOPTERYLegend of a Licentious Logophile 1 Libidinous linguist lusts after landlady s lass2 Lecherous lodger weds lovelorn landlady3 Landlady loses life4 Lascivious lewd looks after little Lolita5 Lubricious Lolita loves licking lollipops lambitively6 Licentious lecturer loves Lolita louchely7 Lechery lands lusty lamister in legal limbo8 Lachrymose libertine languishes in locku. T Humbert's obsessive devouring and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America but most of all it is a meditation on love love as outrage and hallucination madness and transformati. ,