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Lolita [PDF / Epub] ☉ Lolita Author Vladimir Nabokov – Humbert Humbert scholar aesthete and romantic has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze his landlady's gum snapping silky skinned twelve year old daughter Reluctantly agreeing to marr Humbert Humbert scholar aesthete and romantic has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze his landlady's gum snapping silky skinned twelve year old daughter Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs Haze just to be close to Lolita Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere he will carry her off on a desperate cross country misadventure all in the name of Love Hilarious flamboyant heart breaking and full of ingenious word play Lolita is an immaculate unforgettable masterpiece of obsession delusion and lust.

  • Paperback
  • 331 pages
  • Lolita
  • Vladimir Nabokov
  • English
  • 13 June 2016

About the Author: Vladimir Nabokov

Владимир Владимирович НабоковVladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin was a Russian American novelist Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist He also made significant contributions to lepidoptery and had a big interest in chess problemsNabokov's Lolita is freuently cited as his most important novel and is at any rate his most widely known one exhibiting the love of intricate wordplay and descriptive detail that characterized all his worksLolita was ranked fourth in the list of the Modern Library Best Novels; Pale Fire was ranked rd on the same list and his memoir Speak Memory was listed eighth on the publisher's list of the th century's greatest nonfiction He was also a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction seven times.

10 thoughts on “Lolita

  1. Ian "Marvin" Graye Ian "Marvin" Graye says:

    Between the CoversAfter re reading Lolita I asked my local bookseller if she'd ever read itShe 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 she replied “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 read “Lolita” in a couple of days less time than my work commitments normally allow me but I found it incredibly easy to readEven 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 relatively straight forward novelOnce you know that it concerns sexual relations 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 readers can supply our own conflict in the way we read his novelNabokov knew the subject matter would inflame us if not our desires then at least our morals our sense of righteousnessMorality and aesthetics are intertwined within the fabric of the novelThey embrace each other in one long death roll 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 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 sexual relations with a minor he would have had no legal defenceAny uestion as to whether Lolita really 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 relevant to penalty it was not 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 not really that relevant 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 repeated 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 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 interesting relationship between Humbert and the readerFor 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 reason he was never charged withIf his lawyer had read the document while he was still alive he would probably have excised all of the other confessions because they would have prejudiced his client’s case at least with respect to penaltyThe Role of the JuryFor the reader the confession defines our relationship to the events that are describedWe are cast in the role of a member of the JuryThis device allows heinous moral and criminal acts to be described and read and examined within a legal and therefore legitimate frameworkIn a sense the book becomes a report 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 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 he reveals would reduce 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 be counter 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 reality his truth his burden his shameHis actions were the pursuit of a rational man not an insane oneHe was film star handsome educated intellectual talented witty charming calculating calculated dangerousThere is no doubt 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 really isHe is as cunning tricky sly as a fox and as 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 or reduce his penalty if anything his disclosures would aggravate his penaltyTo this extent I don’t consider Humbert an “unreliable narrator”I realise that some might respond 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 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 sexual relations 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 relations 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 choices?There’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 childParenthood is an education in the 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 the relationship has been consummated or morphed into something mature or ended?However 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 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 will return 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 relationship 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 relationships can be reduced to this fundamental penetrative actSome men see femaleness as no than a receptacle 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 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 traditional relationshipsIt could lie behind the mid life crisis when the guy runs 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 rest of us something about our own loveLast Part Adult Love DeniedI wrote most of my comments about the second part before I had finished reading the last part of the novelI have to emphasise that most of what turned me against Humbert came from my reaction to his own wordsNeither he nor Nabokov held back the material that would make me hate himStill I read 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 ruined looks and her adult rope 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 polluted and big with 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 realised 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 reality she was her own person and she declines his love a second timeOnly then does he recognise 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 real 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 realised 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”

  2. Emily May Emily May says:

    Now this is going to be embarrassing to admitAs 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 doesSo 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 wasHumbert 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 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 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 nowNabokov 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 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 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

  3. Tatiana Tatiana says:

    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 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 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 uite 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?

  4. Rolls Rolls says:

    An old friend used to say that Ulysses was a good book to read but not a good book to read After 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 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 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 reason alone it deserves reading Just don't be surprised that once you're done you don't feel like recommending it to anyone

  5. Jason Jason says:

    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 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 ueer 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 matterThe WritingI have never read another book written uite 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 PoeThe 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 elouent 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 crimeIn Lolita the protagonist is a criminal and his actions unforgivable BUT if there was any method to his madness it would have to be thisHumans 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 lifeIt’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 messagingBut 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 impulsesEnter 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 uestion And its a uestion that you modern citizen find uncomfortable like I doEven 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 tweenI’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 alive note 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 allSo 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 midbrainA very important read for 20th century literatureNew words incondite contretemps swain alembic tombal purblind dulcet treacle edusively viatic selenian

  6. Sean Barrs Sean Barrs says:

    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 lungeNabokov describes some truly disturbing scenes though he does so with elouence 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 uote on the back of my book from one such review; it says and I uote “There’s no funnier monster in modern literature than poor doomed Humbert Humbert” I cannot uite describe how angry that uote makes me There is nothing funny about LolitaThis 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 brillianceYou can connect with me on social media via My Linktree

  7. Lyn Lyn says:

    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 trialThat said it was the single most unpleasant experience of my legal career and high in the running for most unpleasant all timeIn 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 extremesBut sexual attention towards children in any context is universally reviled 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 rapist A brute A monsterHumbert 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 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 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 actsHumburt a European émigré 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 the reader recovers from the shock uotient if the reader recovers this is a wealth of literary genius and style

  8. Michael Finocchiaro Michael Finocchiaro says:

    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 uality 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 tripsAs 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 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 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 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 with rare shells and stratagems 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 complicity rebelling 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 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 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 idealsLolita 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

  9. David David says:

    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 lockup

  10. Luca Ambrosino Luca Ambrosino says:

    ENGLISH Lolita ITALIANOAfter dusty years in my bookshelf finally I decided to read Lolita I am blown away by this Vladimir Nabokov's work ironic and dramatic at the same time I am not shocked nor I have found those disastrous tones of an announced tragedy that I was expecting from this book Indeed Nabokov tells us that this work brings along no moral For me a work of fiction exists only if it gives me what I frankly shall call aesthetic pleasureThe main character Humbert describes in a precise and often sarcastic way his syndrome ie the uncontrollable attraction towards those he defines nymphets based on a rigorous combination of age attitude and style of dress a lethal mix that can catapult him into an abyss of irrationality Some normal dalliances had in adolescence or adulthood are worthless Something is wrong in our antihero which plans convenience marriages or improbable assassinations just to satisfy his ecstatic passion Playing the dual role of fugitive and pursuer in a long road trip the wretched fate of a grotesue man takes place A man that until the end is unable to control his insane and delirious loveBut still loveVote 8Dopo anni di polverosa presenza nel mio scaffale decido con moderato entusiasmo di leggere uesto libro Ironico e drammatico al contempo uest'opera di Vladimir Nabokov mi ha spiazzato Non mi sono scandalizzato né ho ritrovato uei toni funesti da tragedia annunciata che il titolo Lolita sempre suscitava in me D'altronde ci dice Nabokov che la sua opera non si porta dietro nessuna morale Per me un'opera di narrativa esiste solo se mi procura uella che chiamerò francamente voluttà esteticaIl protagonista Humbert descrive in maniera precisa e spesso sarcastica la sua sindrome l'attrazione irrefrenabile verso coloro che definisce ninfette sulla base di una rigorosa combinazione di età atteggiamento e modo di vestire un mix letale in grado di scaraventarlo in un abisso di irrazionalità A nulla valgono esperienze relazionali normali avute in adolescenza o in età adulta ualcosa non uadra nel bell'Humbert che progetta matrimoni di convenienza o improbabili assassinii pur di soddisfare la sua estatica passione Rivestendo il duplice ruolo di fuggiasco ed inseguitore in un lungo viaggio on the road si compie il gramo destino di un uomo grottesco incapace fino all'ultimo di dominare il suo a insano e deliranteMa pur sempre aVoto 8

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