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The Annotated Lolita

door Vladimir Nabokov, Alfred Appel (Redacteur), Vladimir Nabokov

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2,114405,599 (4.51)12
Presents the degeneration which results from a middle-aged professor's desperate obsession with a precocious, callous teenager whose mother he marries just to be near the young girl.
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1-5 van 40 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
It took me years to get the courage to read this book. It really is a masterpiece. The writing is phenomenal and the story psychologically interesting, when you consider the difference between narrator and author.
Not porn or perverted as a story, though it deals with both. Worth its status in the literary canon! ( )
  LDVoorberg | Nov 22, 2020 |
Several correspondents responded to my comments on Nabokov’s Pale Fire by suggesting that I read his most famous novel, Lolita. I am somewhat wary of classics, having the same poor introduction to them as the majority of American public school students, and Lolita has an additional stigma of being a controversial book (some of which, like Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, are better forgotten than revered on banned books shelves). The recommendations came from reputable sources, however, and I had determined from Pale Fire that Nabokov was to my liking, so I purchased a copy.

It sat on my shelf for a few weeks, then I ran across this version of the novel, containing notes by Nabokov scholar, Alfred Appel, Jr. For those just tuning in to First Impressions, I am a sucker for annotations. (A quick aside: I like the trend that Dorling Kindersley started with regard to mixing text, notes, and graphics, but I was alarmed to see their initial entry into children’s literature was annotating abridged novels. As much as I love annotations, I hate abridgements.) I knew that I was missing a lot of the allusions in Pale Fire, and the opportunity to read Lolita and not be quite as clueless was too good to pass up.

There are three basic types of annotations: 1) explanations of uncommon terms and phrases, 2) information about the referenced person or thing, and 3) notes on the story itself. The first two I like as footnotes, the last as endnotes. Unfortunately, Appel has all the types mixed together in the back which makes it very difficult for a first time reader to enjoy the allusionary explanations yet skip the references to what occurs later in the book. It would have been better to have split the annotations into footnotes to be read with the text and endnotes for scholarly study.

Even though I was often clued in to later events in the book, I thoroughly enjoyed Lolita. The first half of the book, where Humbert Humbert falls into the seductive trap that he built himself is undeniably erotic, but not pornographic. However, because the erotic object is a 12-year-old, the book does tread fine ground. If Lolita had ended at the Enchanted Hunters Motel, it would not be worth mention here. But it continues for another 200 pages, and the repercussions of both Humbert’s and Lo’s actions are visited upon them.

Having exposed myself to several anonymous novels in my sordid past, I was able to compare Nabokov’s work to those lesser authors. Although everyone’s definition of pornography differs, there does seem to me an obvious difference that goes beyond the question of style or intent. A sex novel relies on a building of intensity, leading the reader from tame necking to pneumatic exercises over the course of a few pages, then rebuilding and doing it again, and again. Nabokov starts intensely and keeps the pressure high until the actual culmination over nearly 200 pages. It takes a strong libido to maintain an interest that long, even for a fast reader like myself.

I’m glad I finally read Lolita, and I expect that you will see more comments on Nabokov in this space. ( )
  engelcox | Nov 3, 2020 |
I’m not even sure where to start. Yes, it’s a masterpiece. No, it’s far from an “easy read.” And having read this novel just once, I suspect that I am barely qualified to offer any kind of critical assessment of it. Therefore, I won’t even attempt to analyze this beguiling and curious work of literary art. I will simply share with you some questions I have:

Humbert Humbert is clearly insane. Eloquent, educated, and witty, yet also lascivious, deluded, and pitiful. How does Nabokov manage to make this most unreliable of narrators (we never even learn his “true” name) so sympathetic?

Is Clare Quilty real? (I mean, within the parameters of the novel—I know all of these characters are fictional…) Or is he simply a product of Humbert’s fertile imagination? Did Humbert invent his own doppelgänger?

Is Lolita one of the first postmodern novels? Its awareness of itself as a narrative and its Möbius strip structure lead me to suspect that it is.

Intriguing, fascinating, frustrating, and peculiar, Lolita is a novel I will need to read again. But not anytime soon. ( )
  jimrgill | Oct 29, 2018 |
oh lo. ( )
  adaorhell | Aug 24, 2018 |
OMG this book is amazing.

I feel like I should feel weird about that, because it is about a pedophile? who kidnapped and raped a girl? and then killed a guy? But I don't. Uh... not really. Well, the senior librarian here said, like, "I hate this book," when she was putting it on the shelf, which I can totally understand. I'm not gonna go and like, downplay the eroticism and overstate the intellectualism to make Lolita seem less "icky."

Lolita is icky.

But I have always responded to icky, grimy, grotesque things better than sweet, idealistic things. I don't particularly think one is better than the other (I suppose there are people who insist that "dark" stuff is closer to reality than "light" stuff, but ah... isn't that the sort of close-mindedness that distorts people's view of reality? wouldn't that make them guilty of the self-delusion they think they're above, if they thought about it? eh, anyway), but I have an allergic reaction to the earnest and sincere. I couldn't even really tell you what I consider "the earnest and sincere." I... don't want to qualify it because it will be giving my personal tastes more form than I think they actually have, and I don't want to start talking generally and semi-objectively about something so personal and subjective. Like pineapples in pizza or Panda Express, I simply cannot consume it without gagging a little.

Anyway, tangent, woah.

Lolita is amazing. How is Nabokov so good with the English language? How? Look at this, my own mangled mess. Bah, I say, bah! I cried at the end, even. I only cry for dead soldiers (seriously. I cannot read or hear about combat stories i'm like NO DON'T EVEN! WAAHH, but anything else I'm like, it's the circle of life and it moves us all), and I cried for these fictional idiots. Mad skillz, yo.

I have no idea why it is only now that I have I read this book. It was lucky, though, because I read it while also obsessed with Breaking Bad, another story about a man whose crimes you know/expect, but still you find yourself sympathizing, until later then you are like, what wait he is a pathetic ego-driven monster. Still a little different, obviously, as Humbert had already committed all his crimes when you meet him... but Walter White does seem to always have been a prideful prick. We've just been misinterpreting it as badass because we're idiots. OMG is Jesse Walter's Lolita OMG ( )
  Joanna.Oyzon | Apr 17, 2018 |
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» Andere auteurs toevoegen (1 mogelijk)

AuteursnaamRolType auteurWerk?Status
Nabokov, VladimirAuteurprimaire auteuralle editiesbevestigd
Appel, AlfredRedacteurprimaire auteuralle editiesbevestigd
Nabokov, Vladimirprimaire auteuralle editiesbevestigd
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Presents the degeneration which results from a middle-aged professor's desperate obsession with a precocious, callous teenager whose mother he marries just to be near the young girl.

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