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review 2017-04-29 14:09
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov,Craig Raine

I loved it. I had always assumed that I would hate it, knowing that it was about an older man taking advantage of a very young girl. What I hadn't realized was that it is a book knowingly written from the villain's point of view. I had thought it would be all excuses and romanticism. That stuff is there, sure, but thinly veiled so that the read may hear HH's excuses to himself and still see right through them. Unfortunately, I do also recognize how parts could easily be represented as Lolita's complicity in her situation, but these would fail to take into consideration either her initial naivete (which many girls that young have had about older men), her recognition of a situation that is quite hopeless, or the significant possibility of Stockholm's syndrome. Of course, there is also the fact that HH is writing in the first person and everything about her is therefore subject to his interpretation. The challenge of the book, and part of its genius perhaps, is seeing Lolita herself outside of his interpretation. It makes me want to see the movie and how the actress interprets Lolita's actions. I've read other books by men that are associated more with the way women are perceived by them then women actually are (Great Expectations and The Great Gatsby for starters) that should do the same thing but I had unfortunately not gone into those prepared for their intentional misrepresentation of my gender and hated them on the first read. (I do owe both a reread since I was told the opinion on it that the women were intentionally written the way they were to point out some men's lack of realization that we are in fact fully three dimensional beings) I do hate the definition and use of the word "nymphet" in practical use but I get why the author included it. I thought it really helped deliver the delusional nature of Humbert's vision of Lolita and the way he romanticized and lusted after girls that were far too young. I did, however, appreciate the inclusion of Humbert's background and some notable things within it. Specifically, those things are the lapses in mental health, his attempts at staying within decency, and his prior love, Annabel. I don't know enough about psychology to have an informed opinion on whether her death really contributed to his affinity for young girls but it made an interesting hypothesis on the part of the afflicted. It was interesting, and super creepy, to see the way his ability to control Lolita's life played into both his hunger for her and many of her responses to him. The progression of their "relationship" was again mostly creepy but interesting in that way we only can be in fiction when it's not real people that are being hurt. His power over her made him increasingly tyrannical as power has been historically shown to do. The whole story climaxes in such a way that is so consistent with the character's personalities and strangely satisfying in it's own way. I'd rather not spoil it, though anyone could easily look up the whole synopsis on Wikipedia if interested, it's linked about anyway. I listened to a copy from the library that was read by Jeremy Irons who also played the protagonist in the 1997 film. I had finally picked it up to listen to as my hold on Reading Lolita in Tehran finally came through, which is also proving to be a great book and gave me some necessary insight into Nabokov's writing style and Humbert's character.

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url 2017-03-21 15:39
Literary Data Analysis
Nabokov's Favorite Word Is Mauve: And Other Experiments in Literature - Ben Blatt

Fascinating. Also, I now recognize a graduate project of mine on D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf's use of the word "pure" to be a stab at data analysis, though the goal of the project shifted to something more manageable to me.


And, coincidence, I'm currently reading Nabokov.

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url 2016-04-15 05:26
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
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url 2015-01-03 11:23
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov,Craig Raine
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url 2013-06-28 16:29
Eating Babies - Boundaries for Writers in Fiction

"Is there anything we really shouldn't write about? I take a look at a list of the verboten and conclude that depending on how you tackle it, nothing is taboo. Except perhaps sex between seniors (and even that features in one best seller...)" Originally posted on booklikes by TheREDBooks




My new novel, Spunk, a Fable, features infanticide, cannibalism, tribadism, and heterosexual intercourse between two gorgeous young people, and heterosexual oral copulation between two amazing old people, and some lesbian oral copulation that takes place largely offstage.  None of it is gratuitous, all of it drives events and/or reveals character. I'm not conversant enough with the tropes of homposexual male union to attempt to write well about it, or it would have been in there, as well, if it had served the plot.


It is both the skill and intention of the author that makes the great difference. The first time I read Lolita I was half-way through the book before I realized that Humbert was a pedophile, and all the way through before I understood that Nabokov had made me sympathize with him. Now THAT'S writing.

Source: litreactor.com/columns/eating-babies-boundaries-for-writers-in-fiction
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