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Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
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Lolita (original 1955; edition 1989)

by Vladimir Nabokov

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
22,64135955 (4.13)1 / 928
Member:RidgewayGirl
Title:Lolita
Authors:Vladimir Nabokov
Info:Vintage (1989), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Fiction, Russian Author, American Author, Classic, 2013CC

Work details

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)

  1. 40
    The Lover by Marguerite Duras (roby72)
  2. 41
    Memories of my Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (heidialice, browner56)
    heidialice: Possibly too obvious of a recommendation? Very different takes on this central theme....
    browner56: Two different views of obsession masquerading as love; both books are so well written that you almost forget the sordid nature of the theme they share.
  3. 20
    The Captive by Marcel Proust (caflores)
  4. 20
    The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler (zembla)
    zembla: Handler is a confessed 'Nabokov freak,' as he said when I saw him at a reading two years ago. He absorbs the influence beautifully.
  5. 10
    The Pornographer of Vienna by Lewis Crofts (heidijane)
  6. 10
    The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch (Queenofcups)
    Queenofcups: I heard many echoes of Lolita in reading The Black Prince. Anyone else find this to be the case?
  7. 21
    Taming the Beast by Emily Maguire (infiniteletters)
  8. 00
    The Death of David Debrizzi by Paul Micou (KayCliff)
  9. 00
    Eve by James Hadley Chase (caflores)
  10. 00
    The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (mcenroeucsb)
  11. 00
    The North China Lover by Marguerite Duras (edwinbcn)
    edwinbcn: Another story of a man with a passion for a young girl.
  12. 01
    The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker (suniru)
  13. 01
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (kara.shamy)
  14. 02
    The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (kara.shamy)
  15. 03
    Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (kara.shamy)
  16. 04
    Hamlet by William Shakespeare (kara.shamy)
  17. 06
    Belinda by Anne Rice (rcc)
    rcc: IF you're "shocked" by Nabokov's Lolita, you surely should read Belinda. It takes off where Lolita ends. What I mean to say is that Anne Rice showed herself to be much more adpet - and daring - at writing about this "taboo" concerning the sexual adventures of a very young girl. Also, Belinda is so much more her "own woman" than Lolita.… (more)
1950s (23)
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English (335)  Dutch (8)  Spanish (6)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Portuguese (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  All languages (359)
Showing 1-5 of 335 (next | show all)
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
352 pages

★★★

I don’t even know how to begin a review on this book, I could barely figure out a good way to rate it! Most people know the premise; simply put it’s a story about an adult man obsessing over a twelve year old. Disturbing, right? Well it is disturbing, as one would expect and yet…there is a beauty in the writing. The descriptions are wonderful and the thoughts are unsettling. While this is a work of fiction, the author makes you think you are reading a real memoir.

With that being said, there are some really upsetting parts in this book. The fact that this book got published, especially in the 1950s, is somewhat amazing to me. Eventually, the book became boring to me and I had trouble concentrating on it any longer. It took me much longer to read than it should have. It started to feel like A LOT of rambling and I just stopped caring. This book is considered a classic, and I can see why but as is usually the case with classics I just couldn’t get myself into it much. I may have to live with the fact that many such books are not meant for me. I almost feel bad only giving the book 3 stars. It really is a well written book and I know so many friends that have very high praises for the book. But, alas, it fell somewhat short for me – not due to its crazy subject matter (I was exceedingly warned of that) but that fact that it just became too boring for me.
( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
I almost don't want to try and sort out exactly how I feel about this book, because I don't want to give it that degree of attention now that I've finished. If the book is hard for me to process, the reviews of it are maybe even worse. Yes, of course, the prose is elegant. Yes, the perspective is unique and sickeningly... well, interesting, for lack of a better word. No, I do not understand why people call it a love story. I am truly baffled by how many times I've seen the word "tender" used to describe it. I think I'd give it one star for my opinion of it, so I'll give it an extra star for the skill in writing.

Have I ever read a character as self-indulgent and self-pitying as Humbert Humbert? Poor Humbert, poor meek, abject, massive, pathetic, desperate clawed Humbert, simultaneously a monster and a hero in his own mind, turned on by the ankles and skin and "stippled armpit" of a twelve-year-old girl who picks her nose while he makes her sit on his naked erection. He fantasizes about having sex with his own future daughter and granddaughter, congratulating himself on how "tender" he is, how great a "father," how miserable and courageous. He craves Lolita, but that is not the same as love. He hurts her, physically and emotionally, routinely and deliberately. That is not tenderness. It's abuse.

He may even actually love her—how would I know?—but that does not make this story a story about love. It is the story of an intensely troubled adult man who rapes his twelve-year-old stepdaughter, taking her hostage around the entire country, lying in bed listening to her cry as soon as he feigns sleep every night for two years. It's the story of obsession and total self-absorption. Frankly, looking at the real-world reception of the book, I think it's the story of everything and everyone that is casually sacrificed to the "art" of the "White Widowed Male." Because as it says in the pseudonymous foreword of the book, actually just part of the book, written by Nabokov as John Ray, Jr.:

"The learned may . . . [assert] that 'H.H.'s impassioned confession is a tempest in a test tube; that at least 12 percent of American males—a 'conservative' estimate according to Dr. Blanche Schwarzman (verbal communication)—enjoy yearly, in one way or another, the special experience 'H.H.' describes with such despair; that had our demented diarist gone, in the fatal summer of 1947, to a competent psychopathologist, there would have been no disaster; but then, neither would there have been this book."

Equal tragedies, apparently. Because what's the life of a girl compared to Art?
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
Love Russian lit ( )
  jimifenway | Feb 2, 2016 |
I thought this book was laugh-out-loud funny at times, although I'm not sure it was supposed to be. It was how Humbert thought of himself that cracked me up. I wanted to read it because it's one of those classics I missed when iI was younger. Listened to the audio book read by Jeremy Irons. ( )
  KathyGilbert | Jan 29, 2016 |
I honestly couldn't finish this book and I pride myself in trying to finish all books that I have started reading but the subject matter of this book was just to much for me to handle. I would give this book 1.5 stars. The only reason I would give this book such a rating is due to the way it is written. It is very well written but, for me the subject just killed the experience for me. All I could think about while reading this book was that I have a niece and god-daughters around the same age as the girl in this book. I couldn't get pass that issue or the feelings it made me feel. ( )
  tianicolle | Jan 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 335 (next | show all)
Brilliantly written ... a disquietingly sombre exposure of a pervert's mind, and finally dreadfully moral in its almost melodramatic summing up pf the wages of this particular sin.
added by Sylak | editDaily Mail, Kenneth Allsop
 
Massive, unflagging, moral, exqusitely shaped, enormously vital, enormously funny - Lolita iscertain of a permanent place on the very highest shelf of the world's didactic literature.
added by Sylak | editThe Spectator, Bernard Levin
 
A scarifying indictment of the kind of perversion with which it deals.
added by Sylak | editSunday Dispatch, Lord Boothby
 
I am sure that the future will exonerate Lolita from the charge of pornography as compleately as we have exonerated Ulysses.
added by Sylak | editSaturday Review, Granville Hicks
 
Some readers may find Lolita offensive. It is a strange combination of roman noir and hot-potato. But more accurately it is an authentic work of art which compels our immediate response and serious reflection _ a revealing and indispensable comedy of horrors.
added by Sylak | editSan Francisco Chronicle, Lewis Vogler
 

» Add other authors (51 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nabokov, Vladimirprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amis, MartinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Amis, MartinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
康雄, 大久保Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coutinho, M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daurella, JosepTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Irons, JeremyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kahane, ÉricTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ray, John J., Jr.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verhoef, RienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
正, 若島翻訳secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
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 palette to tap, at three, on the teeth.
Quotations
Lolita, mitt livs lys, mine lenders flamme. Min synd, min sjel. Lo-li-ta: tungespissen tripper tre trinn nedover ganen for til slutt på det tredje å tromme mot fortennene. Lo. Li. Ta.
Hun var Lo, rett og slett Lo om morgenen når hun stod der 1,54 på sokkelesten. Hun var Lola i slacks, hun var Dolly på skolen. Hun var Dolores når hun signerte på den prikkete linjen. Men i mine armer var hun alltid Lolita.
Noen fortalt meg senere at hun hadde vært forelsket i far og at han tankeløst hadde benyttet seg av det en dag tilværelsen var riktig grå og hadde glemt det igjen da solen atter begynte å skinne.
Nå satt jeg og tenkte på om Valechka (som obersten kalte henne) egentlig var verdt skyting, kvelning eller drukning. Hun hadde svært ømfintlige ben, så jeg bestemte meg til å nøye meg med å klype henne kraftig når vi ble alene.
Fra forfatterens etterord: Om de fant det pornografisk eller ikke, interesserer meg ikke. Når de ikke ville anta boken, skyldtes det ikke min behandling av emnet, men emnet selv; for det er minst tre emner som er absolutt tabu hva flertallet av amerikanske forleggere angår. De to andre er: et neger-hvit-ekteskap som er en fullstendig og strålende suksess med tallrike barn og barnebarn, samt den absolutte ateist som lever et lykkelig og nyttig liv og sover seg inn i døden hunde og seks år gammel.
He did not use a fountain pen which fact, as any psycho-analyst will tell you, meant that the patient was a repressed undinist.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine Lolita with The Annotated Lolita.
Publisher's editors
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Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
Awe and exhilaration - along with heartbreak and mordant wit - abound in Lotlita, Vladimir Nabokov’s most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert’s obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hyper civilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love-love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.
Haiku summary
Not a love story
Road trip for slick pedophiles
Genius writing, though.
(citygirl)
Pedophile's urge in
Sexist culture of U.S.
Each kills the spirit!
(Sinetrig)
Lubricious nymphets
And exuberant wordplay.
Now who's this Quilty?

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679723161, Paperback)

Despite its lascivious reputation, the pleasures of Lolita are as much intellectual as erogenous. It is a love story with the power to raise both chuckles and eyebrows. Humbert Humbert is a European intellectual adrift in America, haunted by memories of a lost adolescent love. When he meets his ideal nymphet in the shape of 12-year-old Dolores Haze, he constructs an elaborate plot to seduce her, but first he must get rid of her mother. In spite of his diabolical wit, reality proves to be more slippery than Humbert's feverish fantasies, and Lolita refuses to conform to his image of the perfect lover.

Playfully perverse in form as well as content, riddled with puns and literary allusions, Nabokov's 1955 novel is a hymn to the Russian-born author's delight in his adopted language. Indeed, readers who want to probe all of its allusive nooks and crannies will need to consult the annotated edition. Lolita is undoubtedly, brazenly erotic, but the eroticism springs less from the "frail honey-hued shoulders ... the silky supple bare back" of little Lo than it does from the wantonly gorgeous prose that Humbert uses to recount his forbidden passion:

She was musical and apple-sweet ... Lola the bobby-soxer, devouring her immemorial fruit, singing through its juice ... and every movement she made, every shuffle and ripple, helped me to conceal and to improve the secret system of tactile correspondence between beast and beauty--between my gagged, bursting beast and the beauty of her dimpled body in its innocent cotton frock.
Much has been made of Lolita as metaphor, perhaps because the love affair at its heart is so troubling. Humbert represents the formal, educated Old World of Europe, while Lolita is America: ripening, beautiful, but not too bright and a little vulgar. Nabokov delights in exploring the intercourse between these cultures, and the passages where Humbert describes the suburbs and strip malls and motels of postwar America are filled with both attraction and repulsion, "those restaurants where the holy spirit of Huncan Dines had descended upon the cute paper napkins and cottage-cheese-crested salads." Yet however tempting the novel's symbolism may be, its chief delight--and power--lies in the character of Humbert Humbert. He, at least as he tells it, is no seedy skulker, no twisted destroyer of innocence. Instead, Nabokov's celebrated mouthpiece is erudite and witty, even at his most depraved. Humbert can't help it--linguistic jouissance is as important to him as the satisfaction of his arrested libido. --Simon Leake

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:34 -0400)

(see all 12 descriptions)

The most controversial classic novel of the 20th century, Lolita tells the story of Humbert Humbert, a middle-aged man who is aroused to erotic desire only by a young girl. Awe and exhilaration--along with heartbreak and mordant wit--abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love--love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 16 descriptions

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7 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014102349X, 014118504X, 0141037431, 0141193670, 024195164X, 0241953243, 0141197013

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