Nabokov 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 ten.
But what if, as a reader, 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 remorse credible But it is too late for that I was already annoyed as hell by his rococo 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 repetitive and only comes alive again when Humbert reaches 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 replusive 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 Bravo Lolita is obviously literature with a capital L It is a work by a man of letters who happened to be a genius for that reason alone it deserves reading Just don t be surprised that once you re done you don t feel like recommending it to anyone.
Now, this is going to be embarrassing to admit.
As we all should know, reading and enjoying a book is largely about interpretation People are not the same and we all view things differently one individual might see a relationship 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 representation 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 relationships that someone of thirty does, and neither of them have the same outlook as someone of seventy does.
So it s time that I admit, when reading this at thirteen, my younger brain actually romanticised Humbert s depravity and saw the relationship between him and Lolita as some tragic love affair It was surprise, surprise Tatiana s review that made me wonder if I d had a screw loose when reading this years ago Her interpretation was so far from what I remembered that I simply had to find time for a re read This summer, I did just that I am going to point the shameful finger of blame at my age when I first read it I was as fooled by Humbert as the young Lolita was.
Humbert is not a reliable narrator his declaration that Lolita was responsible for seducing him is repulsive and wrong Because, in the end, an adult has no excuse for having sex with a child, even if they re walking around half naked and offering themselves up adults have a responsibility not to take advantage of children And I now realise this case is no exception This is not some tragic romantic tale about forbidden love it is the story of how a grown man repeatedly raped 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 victim.
I don t know whether to feel better about my original feelings or be horrified that even the description for the audiobook describes the novel asa love story almost shocking in its beauty and tendernessAnd I also know that I have no right to criticise other people who saw it in such a way, but I would ask you to read 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 now.
Nabokov has written a brilliant and disturbing novel my opinion of it hasn t changed in that respect I found it surprisingly easy to read and became absorbed quickly 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 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 I wasn t even going to write a review of Lolita after finishing it, because, honestly, how many reviews does this classic need That is, until I started pocking around and reading what others have to say about it Many reactions 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 compassionate towards 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 readers, and himself, into believing that he is a dedicated, caring lover, wounded and changed by an early tragic romance 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 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 ever read anything like this before But emotionally this look into a pedophile s psyche is so disgusting, I can t quite bring myself to rate it so Humbert is so sickly real to me, with his apologies, justifications of his behavior, cowardice, sob stories and bending of reality, 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 revolting, 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 world thus, we see the world through the eyes of an extremely unreliable narrator Perhaps unreliable is the wrong word He reports what he sees with utmost honesty however, his perceptions of these experiences are, well, just wrong As a character study, he is a very worthy subject In the wake of Freudian psychoanalysis, Nabokov s novel is aware of the rising field of psychology Humbert is a walking contradiction He is at times unbelievably arrogant, and at other times he is timid and weak he is passive yet manipulative he derides nothing from life other than a person sense of sexual gratification it s all he lives for He has an exceedingly narrow range of interests he scrutinises everything and remembers the most minor of details He is charming, but at other times completely socially awkward I think it wouldn t be too far a thing to suggest that there are elements of Autism within his personality He is obsessive about things, about his work and his Lolita Ironically, at one point, he expresses succinct knowledge of Freud and at another he demonstrates complete ignorance towards Freud s psychosexual stages of development So who exactly is this Humbert Humbert is lost he is lost in life, and he is lost within himself he is hopeless, looking for any sense of light in his life Unfortunately, this projection of desperation takes on the form of a child He falls in love with Lolita, and what she represents to him But of course it s not real love Lolita is just a sexual object to him not a person So what follows is a story of a man who has convinced himself that his actions are perfectly justified When he takes a twelve year old child in his arms it is perfectly fine to his mind because she comes willing Never mind the fact that he has crafted a situation so that she responds to his advances She is vulnerable and completely alone in the world she has no one to turn to in her moment of grief, and the snake is ready to lunge.
Nabokov describes some truly disturbing scenes, though he does so with eloquence bordering on the genius Sounds odd, considering what I have just described The content of the book is vile, Humbert is vile, but in a fictionalised world we have to look beyond that The world is seen through the eyes of Humbert, so everything we see is what he sees and what he experiences Nabokov uses free indirect style to narrate some harrowing scenes, the content is vile but the language is beautiful Again, this is what Humbert experiences As troubling as this book may be, I argue that this has very strong place in the literary world Nabokov explores the mind of a sexual predator and I think as readers we can learn a great deal in the process We can see how the psychological make up of such an individual is formed and we can see what they think and they feel To understand such a man is the first step towards stopping him and recognising this behaviour in other men As a reviewer, I find it of vital importance to read the reviews of others There s a quote on the back of my book from one such review it says, and I quote There s no funnier monster in modern literature than poor, doomed Humbert Humbert I cannot quite describe how angry that quote makes me There is nothing funny about Lolita.
This book is terribly serious in content, and Humbert is not a man to be laughed at What we have is a deeply disturbed individual, one confused and drifting through life, cold and utterly broken inside, and he is about to ruin the life of a young girl I don t laugh at this book, I weep at its brilliance.
Nymph Nymphet Nymphetiquette 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 damn plausible There s a criminal, upsetting proclivity of the subject matter, but the whole thing is oiled with reason SAY IT AINT SO It s deviant, queer, puerile, and yet ever so human, darkly human, perverted in the corner Lolita lingers in my mind, like an accidental glance at the mid day sun I believe this book will have a permanent effect on me I m thankful, but cautious It s a book that I experienced, not so much as read There are 2 components to this book that radically affected me, the writing and the subject matter.
The WritingI have never read another book written quite like Lolita The writing has depth, layer upon layer, strata against strata, texture among texture It s a palimpsest of clues and anagrams and reference The author has absolute command of the English and French and Latin language And yet, among the 4 dollar words and bourgeoisie lit crit, Nabakov plays with the language He invents words He hyphenates them He nymphorizes them It s a gamboling and frolicking story in the rarefied air of an unrestrained, unapologetic and unadulterated polyhistoric writer It s subtle and raw at the same time it s pure Pure, like what happens in your neighborhood behind closed doors, just before an arrest He incorporates a dry, brittle sense of humor even a bit of sass He taunts the reader to follow He dares the reader to like and enjoy Humbert Humbert He pokes you in the eye He scandalizes you, but with a pen that is at once brutal and sensitive, but always careful There are echoes of Joyce and Poe.
The story is a retrospective fromfromfrom where What Prison Ostensibly And yet, there hasn t been a trial yet no judgement Nabakov tantalizes you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, to pass judgement on Humbert Humbert yourself Are you willing Or will you just turn your head, wincing The writing is breathless, eloquent, exacting, alluring, inventive, sexy, pleading, conceited, lurid, savory, languid, and slyly self deprecating The author is flagrant, unapologetic, a dandy even He whiffles the writing in so many little stylistic flourishes He writes sentences and paragraphs in ways that I would never have guessed to try It s insanely periodic writing I grab my head akimbo in pure awe of the sentences I peeked at an annotated version for 20 pages at a local big box book store Wow, there s so many levels to this writing, of so much I was ignorant Did you know that under the shocking story of pedophilia, Nabakov is carrying on a paper chase with clues on almost every page Yes, there s a whole other plane of conversation hidden below the written words grammatically, semantically, nymphatically They re buried in the french words, the double entendres, the onomatopoeia, the puns, the metonymy, the symbols, the rhyming, the nymphventions Palimpsest ladies and gentlemen The Subject MatterWe all know Lolita is supposed to be shocking, revolting even, many people not able to finish it Titillating, serious fiction about pedophilia is the clear edge of the literary envelope, something banned in many different communities, even today At this particular time in our democracy, as one of the freest countries in the world, and the most progressive, we champion human rights and place a huge penalty on crimes against minors In this spirit, we are supposed to decry and detest the subject matter in this book, and lambast the author People are arrested and put on community rosters for crimes against minors This 300 page book chronicles a crime against a minor Nabakov makes this an even difficult sexual arrangement for his readers to contemplate, because the 12 year old is an eager, compliant and willing partner to the crime.
In Lolita the protagonist is a criminal and his actions unforgivable BUT, if there was any method to his madness, it would have to be this Humans share a cephalization process in common with most vertebrates We developed cerebral hemispheres several million years ago progressing beyond our closest ancestors , and recently than that, humans learned how to use the cerebral cortex to reason, judge, cognate, and intuit But, hundreds of millions of years ago, way down the taxonomic branch, we shared with other vertebrates a common mesencephalon and rhombencephalon, the midbrain and hindbrain Tucked up under our marvelous, modern cortex, the midbrain and hindbrain, called the brain stem, are comprised of the pons, cerebellum, and yes, the MEDULLA OBLONGATA These are ancient, compact organs They are the most animal part of our brains They are in control of the lower order mental functions, the basic mechanistic functions upon which everything else depends You can lose part of your cortex and still function as a human You cannot, however, lose any of your brain stem without losing basic animal function The brain stem is innately integral to life.
It s from this midbrain we get reflex, instinct, coordinated movement, sex drive, fight or flight, and a whole range of metabolic regulation for all organs in the rest of the body The impulses the input, the direction, the priority originating in these Mesozoic Era brain organs are powerful The cerebral cortex would be remiss to block an impulse from this deep, ancient brain even if it could stop the impulse in time It s difficult for our human cortex to constrain an electrical input from the animal brain stem What comes from the stem is automatically life sustaining, life preserving, and high priority The cortex usually plays catch up to brain stem messaging.
But humans do it all the time It s called reason, judgement, cognition, and conscience It s called being civilized It s keeping in check our vertebrate impulses.
Enter Humbert Humbert He suffers an atavistic urge to procreate with young nymphets This is a social problem driven and turbocharged by the midbrain He understands his cortex understands that the culture of the late 1940s and early 1950s find this taboo and perverse, definitely criminal But our poor Humberto doesn t care He reasons with his midbrain, and pleads to us, the jury In the not too distant past within our own Western culture, and certainly in modern cultures of tribal peoples, 12 year old girls are ready to mate Lolita has already menstruated and had sex with a boy her age In many cultures of the world, Lolita would be given up as a wife in exchange for dowries of cattle, land, political favor The whole story, then, brings this American taboo to a moral question And its a question that you modern citizen find uncomfortable, like I do.
Even disturbing, Nabakov makes Humby Humberty a caring, loving, protective paternal figure that wishes Lolita the best in life There is no direct, lewd reference to the act of sex nothing salacious nothing pornographic No, that would be too easy to damn Humbo to the devil Instead, Nabakov explores the possibility that real love may exist betwain the tween.
I m not too happy to report a phenomenon that happens to men of sexual capacity, always and forever It s an impulse from the midbrain, and it pushes through all that civilization ing It s happened to all men I know because it s been a topic of conversation in many different social settings to which I was eye witness Take for example a young woman of 16 or 17 years From afar I see a body in bikini, I see a tight, athletic form, I see a bronzed body wearing clothes much too revealing, and immediately the midbrain excites the male sex drive Upon closer approach, I m horrified to see that this nubile figure is much too young for me Am I perverted Criminal thoughts I don t think so The midbrain wants to ensure successful mating, and for hundreds of millions of years, sexual mating, to be maximally effective, and to outlast environmental exigencies, was driven down to the earliest age that could conceive offspring So that dastardly urge men experience around cheerleaders, or girls at the beach that look as healthy and trim as fresh gazelles it s not right dammit, and most of us keep it in check, but there it is and it s nagging, and I wish it away But no, I think it will remain and haunt me at times like it haunts all men your men your brothers and your fathers and your lovers I look away in disgust of myself, call myself a dirty old man, whatever it takes to recalibrate my thoughts It happens occasionally that oogling but I keep it in check But if you think society has civilized itself away from this midbrain urge, type into google the words list of sexual predators in my area You will see a Mesozoic characteristic come alivenote to self, this paragraph may need to be rewordeda very good chance most people will misconstrue itas if I was pardoning the midbrain urgeor worse, that I pardon Humbert Humbertnot the case at all So that s why at the beginning I said this story was so damn plausible and upsetting and oiled with reason, and darkly human Pedophilia and incest has occurred, is occurring, and will always occur That beast of a midbrain A very important read for 20th century literature.
New words incondite, contretemps, swain, alembic, tombal, purblind, dulcet, treacle, edusively, viatic, selenian I once represented a man who had been accused of statutory rape 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 trial.
That said, it was the single most unpleasant experience of my legal career and high in the running for most unpleasant all time.
In popular culture we are inundated with scenes of crime and violence, we live in a morally relative landscape where to each his own is taken to Bohemian extremes.
But sexual attention towards children, in any context, is universally reviled and vilified.
Lo Lee Ta.
Vladimir 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 impressive.
Yes, it is about a pervert, a sex offender, a child rapist A brute A monster.
Humbert Humbert names himself such Whether sympathetic chronicler or unreliable narrator I will leave for each reader 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 society.
Nabokov 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 entendres.
This is presented as a first person letter, 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 times repentant and remorseful, and at other times attempting a justification and explanation of his acts.
Humburt, 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 alluring.
Brilliantly written with a shamefully outrageous subject, once the reader recovers from the shock quotient if the reader recovers this is a wealth of literary genius and style.
2 Lecherous lodger weds lovelorn landlady.
3 Landlady loses life.
4 Lascivious lewd looks after little Lolita.
5 Lubricious Lolita loves licking lollipops lambitively.
6 Licentious lecturer loves Lolita louchely.
7 Lechery lands lusty lamister in legal limbo.
8 Lachrymose libertine languishes in lockup.
Once, a long time ago I was an 11 year old girl I did not always appear my age, nor act it I was long and lean and blonde and full of the confidence that only a young child can exude Me, circa 1998 A ripe 11 years old thinking I was to be America s Next Top Model Ha It was around this time that my body began raging with hormones and ideas about boys and love I was introduced to sex at a young age My sister being 4 years my elder thought she should show me the ways of the world And boy did she introduce me to a whole lot Beer, cigarettes, make up, older boys and of course the birds and the bees But I was a weird kid I know, I m a weird adult too Funny how that works I was always just outside the social realms of the cool kids I wasn t quite nerdy enough for the nerds either I fell somewhere in the middle and made a lot of people uncomfortable There were a select few who understood me and my slightly off personality Me circa 2000 at the age of 13.
One thing that can be said is that I was always willing to laugh and to make others laugh I was wild and free I cared little what others thought and went wholly into every endeavor.
Me around the age 13 still And yes, I am riding a sled down a slide in the middle of summer because why not It was when I was 14 that a lot in my life changed There was an older guy who hung around my house with my sister s friends and who paid a lot of attention to yours truly He laughed at my corny jokes, smiled at me frequently and I noticed how often he was caught staring at me The long story of it is far too long and complicated.
What I will tell you is this he was 22 I was 14 Not quite the age gap that Lolita and Humbert shared but enough of one to piss a lot of people off Growing up in a small town everyone knows everyone and this guy knew my family for a while Nothing but the best intentions We had something special and my parents did what a lot of parents do they tried to advise and deter me They saw they weren t getting anywhere and decided to let it play out for a bit thinking he would get bored and move on.
He changed from the sweet and charming guy he was around everyone else to a controlling and abusive asshole when we were on our own He manipulated me into thinking it was my fault that I caused him to react that way That I was flirtatious with that clerk, or hanging out with guys at my sister s house, or putting on a show for everyone as a cheerleader He demeaned me every chance he got and a few times things did get physical It was after he broke my heart by breaking up with me that his true colors really came through He attacked my male best friend who was helping me through the devastation of my first real heartbreak He called me all hours of the night convincing me to sneak off and have sex with him again Which, of course I did because I was completely head over heels in love with him and I thought that maybe, just maybe this would be the time he would take me back Then he broke my soul He took something from me that can never truly be restored The absolute worst night of my life happened at the age of 15 when he was 23 My screams for help and my sobs of pain went unheard that night It is a night I don t talk about, nor will I divulge the details of that night to you What I will tell you is that my spark went out that night Only now, almost 15 years later, have I started to get some of my spark back with the love of a man who deserves it And one who is just as odd as I am Lolita was a tough read for me I read the book with myself in mind What a difficult process that was But it was also cathartic Thanks for giving me that word, Dan I found a tiny bit of solace in this book While Lolita may have thought she knew what she was doing and getting herself into I think it is safe to say she had no understanding of the impact her actions would have I think she sought the love and affection of a father without realizing that sex is not how you love nor how you receive it At first, it may have been a bit of a game for her a conquest of sorts And Humbert, vile bastard that he was, did love her His views and expectations of love and what it means were completely skewed He manipulated every situation to his benefit, ignored her tears, and defiled her at every turn.
This book, subject matter aside, is completely brilliant It gives us a view into the mind of a disturbed man One day, I would like to write Lolita s tale and offer her a voice that understands who she is and what she endured.
It took a lot of strength and courage to put myself out here as much as I have I d like to thank you all in advance for taking the time to read a small but important chapter in my life It s all a step in the long process of healing.
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 paper roll makes as it turns P 49 The text is both reprehensible and hilarious, the writing always being of a sublimely dreamy quality Was Roth inspired by this scene when he wrote of Nathan Zuckerman hunting around the room of Amy Bellette in The Ghost Writer Fate throws HH and his Lo together no spoilers, I promise HH holds a reformatory existence over her as ransom for the naughtiness he extracts There are a few epic road trips As we pushed westward, patches of what the garbage man called sage brush appeared, and then the mysterious outlines of table like hills, and then red bluffs ink blotted with junipers, and then a mountain 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, eyelashes right cutting across all human rules of traffic P 153 How 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 and realism 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 russophones reading this post that have read both the English and Russian Lolitas What is the Russian one like I 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 staring rustics, 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 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 211 I 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 inspiration I saw the board as a square as of limpid water with rare shells and stratagems rosily visible upon the smooth tessellated bottom, which to my confused adversary was all ooze and squid cloud P 233 There is a wonderful little poem near the end The moral sense in mortals is the dutyWe have to pay on mortal sense of beauty P 283 The central problem in the novel is of course HH s seduction of Lo and her sometimes complicity rebelling against the mother who never loved her But both he and Lo are aware that he is a sham It 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 run, was the best I could offer the waif P 287 Nabokov 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 have ruined 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 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 victim revealed 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 raping little girls is just a way of blowing off steam and rebelling 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 restraint and with no conscience other than some racist, pseudo socialist ideals.
Lolita is a novel of extraordinary power and beauty in which Nabokov challenges us to read beyond our disgust and fear and live uncomfortably in HH s mind for 300 beautifully written pages Hard forget and impossible to ignore, it is Nabokov s greatest contribution to literature imho.