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Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita (original 1955; edition 1989)

by Vladimir Nabokov

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23,61138747 (4.12)1 / 962
Authors:Vladimir Nabokov
Info:Vintage (1989), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
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
    Eva 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)
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Showing 1-5 of 364 (next | show all)
Let me be brief. The audiobook version performed / read by Jeremy Irons may well be the best audiobook performance I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

He renders this controversial and brilliant novel so skillfully, so seductively (appropriate considering the subject matter) that he elevates the book into an entirely new category of something like "literary performances".

Read the audiobook for its emotional power but not to study the book which is much too dense to be fully understood via the audiobook form. Iron's narration, especially toward the end can zip along so quickly that much of the symbolism of this complex novel will be lost.

As an emotional experience however, it is unparalleled and I recommend it highly. ( )
  blnq | Feb 10, 2017 |
Nabokov hated Humbert. And rightly so, because Humbert is not the romantic, tragic figure he wanted himself to be viewed. He is an incestuous, rapist pig and a murderer, plain and simple. He took advantage of a young girl. A twelve-year-old girl. Sure, she fooled around at summer camp, but a lot of young girls start discovering sex at that age. That doesn't give adults pretext to rape them, and if you have that mentality, you're screwed up. It's easy to get seduced by the prose, but you have to remember what Humbert is.I read this last year and while I was blown away by the prose, I managed to keep my head and remember Humbert is not the victim. Dolores is. To quote one of my favourite movies, Hard Candy (which, funny enough, also dealt with paedophilia): "It's just so easy to blame a kid, isn't it? Just because a girl knows how to imitate a woman does NOT mean she's ready to do what a woman does!" ( )
  kyndyleizabella | Jan 23, 2017 |
I love this book. I don't know what that says about me. I mean, I know the subject matter is atrocious, but I was super amazed by how much I got into the story. The writing style is the absolute most interesting I've known. Especially for something written so very long ago, the words were super fresh. The imagery, metaphors and just words used in ways that haven't been used before. This is a book that will stay with me forever.

Normally, I would think of a child being nothing after the fact to a child molester, and in turn, the effects of what happened overshadowing the child forever. In this he's so madly in love with her, and to her he's just a blip she passed over.

I love how morose he is, and his crazy ridiculous love is so weird.

So for whatever reason, this book just is a hit for me.


FangirlMoments and My Two Cents
( )
1 vote ToniFGMAMTC | Jan 19, 2017 |
The story of Humbert Humbert, a pedophile who is telling his own story. He is a nutcase, so he writes all over the place. He is deluded, thinking he is perfectly fine and doing the best for Lolita. So it is obvious that you, the reader, cannot take at face value what the writer, Humbert, is writing. Overall, a disgusting book that gives more weight to the idea of simply killing all pedophiles instead of sending them to jail. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Despite the critical acclaim, rave reviews and high placement on most must-read lists, I avoided reading Lolita for decades, mostly because of the subject matter. What can I say? My philosophy of universal tolerance doesn’t extend to Pedophiles. But when I read another Nabokov book, Despair, I realized that this was a unique author. His ability to tell a story through the eyes of an unsavory character, simultaneously expressing his twisted belief in his innocence while subtly revealing to readers the vile truth of his character, is unparalleled. Vladimir Nabokov is an absolute master of the unreliable narrator. When I realized this, I had my first inkling that Lolita might be something more than just a story about a pervert.

Now that I have read it I find myself in a bit of a pickle. By my rating scale, for me to give a book five stars I must believe it must pass the ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ test. There should be no room for improvement. That’s not the case. I reached a point about midway through the book where I grew very tired of Humbert Humbert, the less-than-humble narrator, and his efforts to maintain control of his step-daughter Dolores, aka Lolita. Many will argue and I won’t disagree that Nabokov used this time to subtly and relentlessly build the case against Humbert. Humbert’s greatest crime, as revealed via subtle clues and references revealed from his own pen, is that he took a 12 year-old girl and stole from her not only her childhood but her entire life. While I did find it painful to read at times, I cannot deny that it was masterfully done.

Other arguments favoring a high rating include Nabokov’s skill at creating new English words when none exist that meet his needs. Some, such as the word ‘nymphet’ have jumped from his pen into the current lexicon. His mordant sense of humor also put him in a class above most authors. One wouldn’t expect to find humor in a book about pedophilia but a careful reading will reveal quite a bit. I particularly enjoyed a scene when he talked about the fate of his first wife after she left him.The couple had somehow got over to California and had been used there, for an excellent salary, in a year-long experiment conducted by a distinguished American ethnologist. The experiment dealt with human and racial reactions to a diet of bananas and dates in a constant position on all fours. My informant, a doctor, swore he had seen with his own eyes obese Valechka and her colonel, by then gray-haired and also quite corpulent, diligently crawling about the well-swept floors of a brightly lit set of rooms (fruit in one, water in another, mats in a third and so on) in the company of several other hired quadrupeds, selected from indigent and helpless groups. I tried to find the results of these tests in the Review of Anthropology; but they appear not to have been published yet.Another point in the book’s favor is his ability to portray complexity. Almost all of us see the subject of pedophilia in black and white. It’s not something to which we apply gradation. To those of us who see the world thusly, Nabokov asks ‘But what if you have two pedophiles? Is a victim better off with one of them than the other?’

Bottom line: This is not a very pleasant book to read but it is brilliant and I recommend it highly. It is more mystery than romance although, since it is told to us by a sexual predator, his passion for his victim is a big part of it. What I find most fascinating is Nabokov’s ability to tell a story using a deranged individual’s words. He simultaneously shows us how twisted his protagonist is and how he can obliviously view himself as something almost noble. There is one word that describes this skill that Nabokov has that many authors lack; ‘depth’.

FYI: On a 5-point scale I assign stars based on my assessment of what the book needs in the way of improvements:
*5 Stars – Nothing at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
*4 Stars – It could stand for a few tweaks here and there but it’s pretty good as it is.
*3 Stars – A solid C grade. Some serious rewriting would be needed in order for this book to be considered great or memorable.
*2 Stars – This book needs a lot of work. A good start would be to change the plot, the character development, the writing style and the ending.
*1 Star - The only thing that would improve this book is a good bonfire. ( )
3 vote Unkletom | Nov 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 364 (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 (50 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
Bang-Hansen, OddTranslatorsecondary 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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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.
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please do not combine Lolita with The Annotated Lolita.
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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.
Pedophile's urge in
Sexist culture of U.S.
Each kills the spirit!
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 15 descriptions

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5 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

6 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

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

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