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Or does it mean that you know your feelings better than others know theirs? Or that you have discovered yourself at other levels? Or simply that your history is unique? I do not recall that article; but if a critic makes such a statement, it must surely mean that he has explored the feelings of literally millions of people, in at least three countries, before reaching his conclusion. If so, I am a rare fowl indeed.

If, on the other hand, he has merely limited himself to quizzing members of his family or club, his statement cannot be discussed seriously. They may become tense with obsession, but they do not break apart like the worlds of everyday reality. Is there a static quality in your view of things?

Forster speaks of his major characters sometimes taking over and dictating the course of his novels. Has this ever been a problem for you, or are you in complete command? My knowledge of Mr. My characters are galley slaves. Clarence Brown of Princeton has pointed out striking similarities in your work.

Derivative writers seem versatile because they imitate many others, past and present. Artistic originality has only its own self to copy. Do you think literary criticism is at all purposeful? Either in general, or specifically about your own books? Is it ever instructive? The purpose of a critique is to say something about a book the critic has or has not read. Among these I have known limpid creatures of limitless tact and tenderness who would discuss with me a semicolon as if it were a point of honor—which, indeed, a point of art often is.

Link your subscription. Forgot password? Putnam's Sons in August The book was into a third printing within days and became the first since Gone with the Wind to sell , copies in its first three weeks. The novel continues to generate controversy today as modern society has become increasingly aware of the lasting damage created by child sexual abuse.

In , an entire book was published on the best ways to teach the novel in a college classroom given that "its particular mix of narrative strategies, ornate allusive prose, and troublesome subject matter complicates its presentation to students". Many critics describe Humbert as a rapist , notably Azar Nafisi in her best-selling Reading Lolita in Tehran , [46] though in a survey of critics David Larmour notes that other interpreters of the novel have been reluctant to use that term.

Nabokov biographer Brian Boyd denies that it was rape on the grounds that Dolores was not a virgin and seduced Humbert in the morning of their hotel stay. It bears many similarities to Lolita , but also has significant differences: it takes place in Central Europe, and the protagonist is unable to consummate his passion with his stepdaughter, leading to his suicide. The theme of hebephilia was already touched on by Nabokov in his short story " A Nursery Tale ", written in Also, in the Laughter in the Dark , Margot Peters is 16 and had already had an affair when middle-aged Albinus becomes attracted to her.

In chapter three of the novel The Gift written in Russian in —37 the similar gist of Lolita ' s first chapter is outlined to the protagonist, Fyodor Cherdyntsev, by his landlord Shchyogolev as an idea of a novel he would write "if I only had the time": a man marries a widow only to gain access to her young daughter, who resists all his passes. Shchyogolev says it happened "in reality" to a friend of his; it is made clear to the reader that it concerns himself and his stepdaughter Zina 15 at the time of Shchyogolev's marriage to her mother who becomes the love of Fyodor's life.

Nabokov used the title A Kingdom by the Sea in his pseudo-autobiographical novel Look at the Harlequins!


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In Nabokov's novel Pale Fire , the titular poem by fictional John Shade mentions Hurricane Lolita coming up the American east coast in , and narrator Charles Kinbote in the commentary later in the book notes it, questioning why anyone would have chosen an obscure Spanish nickname for a hurricane. There were no hurricanes named Lolita that year , but that is the year that Lolita the novel was published in North America. The unfinished novel The Original of Laura , published posthumously, features the character Hubert H. Hubert, an older man preying upon then-child protagonist, Flora.

Unlike those of Humbert Humbert in Lolita , Hubert's advances are unsuccessful. The novel abounds in allusions to classical and modern literature. Many are references to Humbert's own favorite poet, Edgar Allan Poe. Humbert Humbert's first love, Annabel Leigh, is named after the "maiden" in the poem " Annabel Lee " by Poe; this poem is alluded to many times in the novel, and its lines are borrowed to describe Humbert's love.

A passage in chapter 11 reuses verbatim Poe's phrase A variant of this line is reprised in the opening of chapter one, which reads In a princedom by the sea. Humbert is not, however, his real name, but a chosen pseudonym. Chapter 26 of Part One contains a parody of Joyce 's stream of consciousness.

He even called Carroll the "first Humbert Humbert". In her book, Tramp: The Life of Charlie Chaplin , Joyce Milton claims that a major inspiration for the novel was Charlie Chaplin 's relationship with his second wife, Lita Grey , whose real name was Lillita and is often misstated as Lolita.


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Although Appel's comprehensive Annotated Lolita contains no references to Charlie Chaplin, others have picked up several oblique references to Chaplin's life in Nabokov's book. Lolita's first sexual encounter was with a boy named Charlie Holmes, whom Humbert describes as "the silent When Humbert visits Lolita in a class at her school, he notes a print of the same painting in the classroom. Delaney's article notes many other parallels as well.

The foreword refers to "the monumental decision rendered December 6, by Hon. John M. Woolsey in regard to another, considerably more outspoken book"—that is, the decision in the case United States v. In chapter 35 of Part Two, Humbert's " death sentence " on Quilty parodies the rhythm and use of anaphora in T. Eliot 's poem Ash Wednesday. Many other references to classical and Romantic literature abound, including references to Lord Byron 's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and to the poetry of Laurence Sterne.

In addition to the possible prototypes of Lewis Carroll and Charlie Chaplin mentioned above in Allusions , Alexander Dolinin suggests [58] that the prototype of Lolita was year-old Florence Horner , kidnapped in by year-old mechanic Frank La Salle, who had caught her stealing a five-cent notebook.

La Salle traveled with her over various states for 21 months and is believed to have raped her. He claimed that he was an FBI agent and threatened to "turn her in" for the theft and to send her to "a place for girls like you. Had I done to Dolly, perhaps, what Frank Lasalle, a fifty-year-old mechanic, had done to eleven-year-old Sally Horner in ? German academic Michael Maar 's book The Two Lolitas [59] describes his recent discovery of a German short story titled "Lolita" whose middle-aged narrator describes travelling abroad as a student.

He takes a room as a lodger and instantly becomes obsessed with the preteen girl also named Lolita who lives in the same house. Maar has speculated that Nabokov may have had cryptomnesia "hidden memory" while he was composing Lolita during the s. Maar says that until Nabokov lived in the same section of Berlin as the author, Heinz von Eschwege pen name: Heinz von Lichberg , and was most likely familiar with his work, which was widely available in Germany during Nabokov's time there. Nothing of what we admire in Lolita is already to be found in the tale; the former is in no way deducible from the latter.

One of the first things Nabokov makes a point of saying is that, despite John Ray Jr. Nabokov adds that "the initial shiver of inspiration" for Lolita "was somehow prompted by a newspaper story about an ape in the Jardin des Plantes who, after months of coaxing by a scientist, produced the first drawing ever charcoaled by an animal: this sketch showed the bars of the poor creature's cage". In response to an American critic who characterized Lolita as the record of Nabokov's "love affair with the romantic novel", Nabokov writes that "the substitution of 'English language' for 'romantic novel' would make this elegant formula more correct".

Nabokov concludes the afterword with a reference to his beloved first language, which he abandoned as a writer once he moved to the United States in "My private tragedy, which cannot, and indeed should not, be anybody's concern, is that I had to abandon my natural idiom, my untrammeled, rich, and infinitely docile Russian language for a second-rate brand of English". Nabokov rated the book highly. In an interview for BBC Television in , he said:. Lolita is a special favorite of mine.

It was my most difficult book—the book that treated of a theme which was so distant, so remote, from my own emotional life that it gave me a special pleasure to use my combinational talent to make it real. Over a year later, in an interview for Playboy , he said:. No, I shall never regret Lolita. She was like the composition of a beautiful puzzle—its composition and its solution at the same time, since one is a mirror view of the other, depending on the way you look.

Of course she completely eclipsed my other works—at least those I wrote in English: The Real Life of Sebastian Knight , Bend Sinister , my short stories, my book of recollections; but I cannot grudge her this. There is a queer, tender charm about that mythical nymphet. In the same year, in an interview with Life , Nabokov was asked which of his writings had most pleased him. He answered:. I would say that of all my books Lolita has left me with the most pleasurable afterglow—perhaps because it is the purest of all, the most abstract and carefully contrived.

I am probably responsible for the odd fact that people don't seem to name their daughters Lolita any more. I have heard of young female poodles being given that name since , but of no human beings. The Russian translation includes a "Postscriptum" [71] in which Nabokov reconsiders his relationship with his native language. Referring to the afterword to the English edition, Nabokov states that only "the scientific scrupulousness led me to preserve the last paragraph of the American afterword in the Russian text Alas, that 'wonderful Russian language' which, I imagined, still awaits me somewhere, which blooms like a faithful spring behind the locked gate to which I, after so many years, still possess the key, turned out to be non-existent, and there is nothing beyond that gate, except for some burned out stumps and hopeless autumnal emptiness, and the key in my hand looks rather like a lock pick.

Vladimir Nabokov - A Literary Life | D. Rampton | Palgrave Macmillan

Lolita has been adapted as two films, a musical, four stage-plays, one completed opera, and two ballets. There is also Nabokov's unfilmed and re-edited screenplay, an uncompleted opera based on the work, and an "imagined opera" which combines elements of opera and dance. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the novel by Vladimir Nabokov. For other uses, see Lolita disambiguation. For the band, see Clare Quilty group. This article possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations.

Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message. United States portal s portal Novels portal. Retrieved 3 January The Atlantic. Retrieved 8 October Great Soviet encyclopedia. The book of ages. Women's studies: a recommended core bibliography. Loeb Libraries. Russia: a country study. Sex and Russian society. Indiana University Press.

Problems and Perspectives

Dangerous pilgrimages: transatlantic mythologies and the novel. Vladimir Nabokov, a reference guide. Lolita: a Janus text. Twayne Publishers. Philosophy and Literature. The Paris Review. Archived from the original on 19 January Retrieved 31 January Longform Media. Archived from the original on 21 January Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita: A casebook. Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita: A reader's guide to essential criticism. Cambridge: Icon Books.

The Times.

Vladimir Nabokov

The New York Times. Over her dead body: death, femininity and the aesthetic. Manchester University Press. Retrieved 2 October Retrieved 30 January Boston Globe.

LOLITA: MY MOST DIFFICULT BOOK

Retrieved 5 February Lolita's Crime: Sex Made Funny. Retrieved 11 October The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 December Vladimir Nabokov: A Descriptive Bibliography. New York: Garland.

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Archived from the original on 29 April Archived from the original on 9 October Retrieved on Approaches to teaching Nabokov's Lolita. Modern Language Association of America. Discourse and ideology in Nabokov's prose. Psychology Press. A companion to rhetoric and rhetorical criticism. NIV in Russian. The Explicator. The Two Lolitas. Whose Lolita? On the Media. Archived from the original on 4 August Retrieved 17 July Retrieved 14 November Retrieved 20 August The Listener : — Reprinted in Nabokov , pp. Life : The Endless Groove. Archived from the original on 9 January Retrieved 10 May Retrieved 13 March Chasing Lolita: how popular culture corrupted Nabokov's little girl all over again.