Lolita

This post is also available in: Spanish

This time I want to shot two birds with one shot. So, as I recently finished reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov for my English course, I would like to share with you some impressions about it. Whereas posts in this blog are necessary short, I hope you can have an idea of the book.

In the same way that Don Quijote is kwon by almost everybody even though they have not read it; we have a previous image of Lolita, besides Lolita is defined by RAE. But in fact, Lolita is a novel written by the Russian Vladimir Nabokov who gained such a magnificent command of his second language that he could write this modern classic.  Brought out in 1955 in Paris it had been previously rejected by four different publishers for different reasons, although all were related with the topic of the book, utterly taboo. And what is the topic? Love, Attraction, Lust, Madness, Pornography, Pedophilia, Eroticism…Perhaps, it is a mixture of all of them. It is the reader who must form an opinion.

The part that surprised me the most was the end, and, although I am not going to spoil it, you must know that there are two main characters. Humbert Humbert: how to describe him? Pervert, pedophile, monster, obsessed, jealous, criminal, maniac, corrupter, a dirty old man… Humbert arraigns himself along the book.

Lolita is considered by Humbert as a nymph, but probably she is not neither a saint nor a slut. Like everything in the novel, she is a complex mixture. Do you think she is an innocent virgin? Do you think that Humbert seduces Lolita or it is the other way around? Actually only through the eyes of Humbert can the reader find out how is Lolita. Therefore we are not sure if she is traumatized, if she is a victim or if she is cheeky.

Regarding style the story is told by Humbert who appeals to readers as a jury and sometimes he gets move them. The book is full of Polyphony, play on the words and anagrams, they are brilliant. Apart from linguistic playfulness, humor and irony are used by Humbert to get the sympathy of the reader. In a nut-shell, in this novel the language is more important than the plot; this is the reason why reading the translation into Spanish must not be the same.

As many other books it has been made into a movie twice, and some songs refers to it too (Don´t stand so close to me, Police; My heart belongs to Dady, Marilyn), apart from that I strongly recommend you to listen to Jeremy Irons reading first chapter of Lolita.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pezG_PlwApg

On the whole, as it was discus during the class, it is fiction, and the topic, whereas could be considered taboo, is part of our lives.

Now, “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury”, it is time you to judge my work

 

2 thoughts on “Lolita

  1. Try as I might, I cannot cope with this novel!!
    The book is not about a taboo but about a crime, a dreadful one, Let alone Lolita’s experience is completely missed, for all is told to the reader through Humbert Humbert filter. All the book intends to justify his behaviour, with the aim to make the reader to sympathise with him.
    Humbert Humbert bases his defense, in front of the court made by the readers, in very poor and very weak reasonings. How an adult man can justify his execrable behaviour with the argument that he was induced by a girl? Could a murderer justify his crime by assuring to the tribunal he was convinced/induced/persuaded by a 12 years old boy or girl? Would it minimize in any sense the murderer’s responsibility in what he did? Blaming Lolita (a 12 years old girl!!), Navokov lightens Humbert Humbert awful guilt. Simply, I will never understand it, even if I squint. Adult behaviour is adult’s responsibility and only that. No excuses. No explanations. Would a child induce you, adult, to drink any poison? To burn your house? To cut your hand? To suicide?

    • I agree with you, but it is fiction. I dont want to justify Humbert’s behavior, however I cannot deny it was apleasure to read it. When you read about World War II you can see how horrible it was, but you can say if the book is rubish or worths reading.

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