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Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

AP Lit

Liz MacDonald

on 29 March 2012

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Transcript of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita Plot Summary Nabokov was born April 22, 1899 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Nabokov was trilingual from an early age.
His family was forced to flee Russia in 1917. They settled in Livadiya, Crimea.
The Nabokov’s were exiled after the defeat of the White Army in 1919 and settled in England. They moved again to Berlin in 1920.
Nabokov’s father was assassinated in March 1922. In 1925, Nabokov married a Jewish-Russian woman, Véra Evseyevna Slonim, and had one child, Dmitri.
In 1936, Véra lost her job because of the increasingly anti-Semitic environment. That same year, the assassin of Nabokov's father was appointed second-in-command of the Russian émigré group.
His family fled from advancing German troops to America in 1940.
Nabokov died July 2, 1977 in Montreux, Switzerland. Nabokov wrote Lolita while travelling on butterfly-collection trips in the western United States that he undertook every summer.
When Nabokov attempted to burn unfinished drafts of Lolita, Véra stopped him.
After the great financial success of Lolita, Nabokov was able to return to Europe and devote himself exclusively to writing. His family settled in Montreux, Switzerland.
Nabokov hated symbolism and psychology.
Vladimir Nabokov Vladimir Nabokov Nabokov and Lolita Lolita is narrated by Humbert Humbert, a literary scholar living in France. He is plagued by an obsession with young girls (“nymphets”). After a failed marriage, Humbert moves to Ramsdale, a small New England town, in 1947 to write. He rents a room from a widow named Charlotte Haze and becomes infatuated with her 12-year-old daughter Dolores Haze (“Lo”, “Dolly”, “Lolita”). Humbert later marries Charlotte to get closer to Dolores. Charlotte discovers Humbert's lust for Dolores when she reads his diary. However, she gets hit by a car and killed shortly after threatening to expose Humbert and run away with Dolores. Humbert and Dolores then drive across the country. On the trip, Humbert discovers that he is not Dolores’s first sexual partner and becomes paranoid and obsessed by the idea that they are being followed.
1950 1960 1955 Emmett Till is killed, sparking the beginning of the Civil rights movement Nikita Khrushchev is in power in Russia. Eisenhower is in power in the U.S. by Vladimir Nabokov Amanda Avella (Madalena Alva),
Liz MacDonald (Mathilda Zelda Coben),
Renee Thompson (Stephen Monroe), and Kelli Diffenderfer (Freddi Keffernelli) 1951 1952 1953 1954 1956 1957 1958 1959 Korean War Second Red Scare and McCarthyism end Polio vaccinne invented Over 18,608 people lobotomized in the U.S. Disneyland opens 7.9 million cars in the U.S. 7 out of 10 families own a motor car "Most readers will probably become bored and, at times, downright sickened."
- The Providence Journal

"This book is 'distilled sewage'."
- The New York World Telegraph

"Lolita is pornography."
- The Chicago Tribune "Lolita is one of our finest American novels, a triumph of style and vision, an unforgettable work, Nabokov's best (though not most characteristic) work, a wedding of Swiftian satirical vigor with the kind of minute, loving patience that belongs to a man infatuated with the visual mysteries of the world."
- Joyce Carol Oates "A fine book, a distinguished book - all right, then - a great book."
- Dorothy Parker

"It is also, not to change the subject, just about the funniest book I remember having read."
- John Hollander Public Opinion of Lolita - Lolita, one of the most notorious novels of the 20th century. Lolita came fourth in a list of the greatest English-language novels of the 20th century.
The book was originally rejected by no fewer than four American publishers.
Nabokov was unable to publish Lolita in America, so he had to publish it in France.
Although the first printing of 5,000 copies sold out, there were no substantial reviews.
The Cincinnati Public Library banned Lolita. The following week, it reached number one on the bestseller list.
Lolita is frequetly described as an "erotic novel".
British customs officers were instructed to seize all copies. France followed suit. Style Nobokov's style combines the lyrical and clinical, the poetic and the academic. He riddles the narrative with wordplay and his black humor provides an effective counterpoint to the pathos of the tragic plot.
The novel's humorous and ornate style is the result of double entendres, multilingual puns, anagrams, and coinages. He uses alliteration, diction, and imagery. The style is also highly visual.
Humbert seduces his readers and clouds their minds with beautiful words and images as he debases a young girl.
Often foreshadows events to come using clever wordplay.
His style is used to show how intelligent he is. “My private tragedy, which cannot, and indeed should not, be anybody's concern, is that I had to abandon my natural idiom, my untrammeled, rich, and infinitely docile Russian tongue for a second-rate brand of English…”
- Vladimir Nabokov “We had been everywhere. We had really seen nothing. And I catch myself thinking today that our long journey had only defiled with a sinuous trail of slime the lovely, trustful, dreamy, enormous country, that, by then, in retrospect, was no more than a collection of dog-eared maps, ruined tour books, old tires and her sobs in the night - every night, every night - the moment I feigned sleep.”
- Humbert Humbert On a shopping trip for Dolores, Humbert muses:

"Life-size plastic figures of snub-nosed children with dun-colored, greenish, brown-dotted, faunish faces floated around me. I realized I was the only shopper in that rather eerie place where I moved about fishlike, in a glaucous aquarium. I sensed strange thoughts." “I discovered there was an endless source of robust enjoyment in trifling with psychiatrists: cunningly leading them on; never letting them see that you know all the tricks of the trade; inventing for them elaborate dreams, pure classics in style (which make them, the dream-extortionists, dream and wake up shrieking); teasing them with fake 'primal scenes'; and never allowing them the slightest glimpse of one's real sexual predicament."
- Humbert Humbert “I find it most difficult to express with adequate force that flash, that shiver, that impact of passionate recognition. In the course of the sun-shot moment that my glance slithered over the kneeling child (her eyes blinking over those stern dark spectacles – the little Herr Doktor who was to cure me of all my aches) while I passed by her in my adult disguise (a great big handsome hunk of movieland manhood), the vacuum of my soul managed to suck in every detail of her bright beauty, and these I checked against the features of my dead bride." Passage Analysis A few criticisms and praises for Lolita McDonald's becomes a franchise "Under God" added to the Pledge of Allegiance lo. lee. ta. “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.” Anagrams and Doppelgangers The End In mythology, a doppelganger is a double of a living person that often is believed to represent evil and misfortune
According to myth, if you see your doppelganger misfortune will soon befall you.
This is important to mention because several characters in Lolita have "doppelgagners" which play very key parts in the plot.
This leads us to Vivian Darkbloom, a very minor character in Lolita
"Vivian Darkbloom" is an anagram for "Vladimir Nabokov". Mockery of psychoanalysis
Obsessive desires
Power of language
America vs. Europe Themes The alliteration of the "t" sound invokes a light-hearted and poetic feeling.
Thorns are painful, so the "tangle of thorns" Humbert refers to could be a series of agonizing events.
The passage starts of with fairytale like terms. Then, it grows darker, with Humbert referring to himself as a "murderer" and his first love as "exhibit number one".
Humbert refers to the readers as a "jury", implying a judgment upon him.
Dolores is seen in many different ways by others, but is only seen as Lolita to Humbert. The moment Humbert sees Dolores, he claims that he feels an "impact of passionate recognition." He feels as though he's met Dolores before, but Dolores only reminds him of Annabel, the love from his childhood.
The word "slithered" connotes a feeling of being sly and predatorial.
Humbert says that he is dressed in an "adult disguise". This could mean that, upon seeing Dolores, he is brought back to his times with Annabel and believes that he is with her again as a child. It could also be him trying to put himself on a similar level as Dolores.
The "dead bride" Humbert refers to is Annabel. This shows a level of commitment and passion, as Annabel and Humbert were never engaged, but he still thinks of her as his bride. However, it also conveys a feeling of despair from her death and realization that their relationship is over. Angel, Grace
Austin, Floyd
Beale, Jack
Beale, Mary
Buck, Daniel
Byron, Marguerite
Campbell, Alice
Carmine, Rose
Chatfield, Phyllis,
Clarke, Gordon
Cowan, John
Cowan, Marion
Duncan, Walter
Falter, Ted
Fantasia, Stella
Flashman, Irving
Fox, George
Glave, Mabel
Goodale, Donald Allusions and the Lolita Class List Green, Lucinda
Hamilton, Mary Rose
Haze, Dolores
Honeck, Rosaline
Knight, Kenneth
McCoo, Virginia
McCrystal, Vivian
McFate, Aubrey
Miranda, Anthony
Rosato, Emil
Schlenker, Lena
Scott, Donald
Sheridan, Agnes
Sherva, Oleg
Smith, Hazel
Talbot, Edgar
Talbot, Edwin
Wain, Lull
Williams, Ralph
Windmuller, Louise
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