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Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
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Lolita (1955)

by Vladimir Nabokov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
25,04041873 (4.1)1 / 1016
  1. 51
    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.
  2. 40
    The Lover by Marguerite Duras (roby72)
  3. 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.
  4. 20
    The Captive by Marcel Proust (caflores)
  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
    His Monkey Wife by John Collier (SnootyBaronet)
    SnootyBaronet: Forbidden love
  9. 00
    The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Another villain made sympathetic by a talented author.
  10. 00
    The Death of David Debrizzi by Paul Micou (KayCliff)
  11. 00
    The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (mcenroeucsb)
  12. 00
    The North China Lover by Marguerite Duras (edwinbcn)
    edwinbcn: Another story of a man with a passion for a young girl.
  13. 01
    Eva by James Hadley Chase (caflores)
  14. 01
    The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker (suniru)
  15. 01
    The Devil in the Flesh by Raymond Radiguet (SnootyBaronet)
  16. 01
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (kara.shamy)
  17. 02
    The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (kara.shamy)
  18. 03
    Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (kara.shamy)
  19. 04
    Hamlet by William Shakespeare (kara.shamy)
  20. 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)

(see all 20 recommendations)

1950s (24)
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English (391)  Dutch (8)  Spanish (7)  Italian (5)  French (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (419)
Showing 1-5 of 391 (next | show all)
I hated and loved it. I found it deeply disturbing, but also very funny. Humbert Humbert is horrible, but in the end, even though he is still horrible, he achieves some sort of strange grace.

Yet another book on the Modern Library Top 100 with an unlikeable cast of characters. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
A deeply unsettling book, all the more so for being so well-written. I had originally given it 5 stars; on a reread (with, admittedly, a lot of skimming), I wasn't as blown-away by it as all that. Maybe I'm less swayed by shock value now, but you have to admit it's wildly successful at what it sets out to do. ( )
  wirehead | Sep 3, 2018 |
A lot of readers have avoided Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov because it is written from a pedophile's perspective, and I have to admit that I would have certainly have passed up reading it if I wasn't expecting something much different. It turns out that I love Lolita.

One of the best things about reading is that you don't have to agree with a characters morals, or lack there of, in order to learn, grow, and enjoy a book. In this case, Humbert is more than immoral, he is dark, twisted, and quite obviously mentally ill. Which is why I allowed myself to love this book as much as I do. Nabokov quite obviously wasn't trying to pass Humbert off as someone who simply had a lifestyle preference, but instead puts the reader in the head of a seriously deranged predator.

As a long time child advocate, and someone who has worked in a field where I saw first hand the effects of sexual abuse, I have to say that I am amazed at Nabokov's ability to get it so right. He gets it so right in fact, that I was almost convinced that he might have been a pedophile himself, but that would be grossly unfair for me to make such an assumption, because honestly, he nailed writing the character of Lolita, the victim, and her behavior. Which is all very impressive for a book that was penned in a time when the cycle of sexual abuse was less discussed, and thus less known than it is even today.

You know what else I loved? The way that the author doesn't treat his reader like a ninny. He has this wonderful way of making suggestions and allowing the reader to understand via crafty writing.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is a remarkable book that has the capability of making the reader see past preconceived notions and the fear of liking something that feels like maybe one shouldn't. ( )
4 vote StephLaymon | Aug 12, 2018 |
Very well written but very disturbing. Language and structure were excellent. But, I wouldn't want to read it again. As a book, excellent, but can't say that I "liked it" . ( )
  ValNewHope | Aug 5, 2018 |
I DNF'd this one maybe about halfway through (?). I couldn't finish it - it was a bit too much for me to stomach. I had a friend finish it for a book club and the way she discussed it made it sound better and made me wish I had stuck with it, but it might've just been her take on the book. I might pick it up and try again but it left such a bad feeling in my stomach the first time, I had to set it down and walk away.
  justagirlwithabook | Aug 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 391 (next | show all)
Haven’t we been conditioned to feel that Lolita is sui generis, a black sheep, a bit of tasteful, indeed ‘beautiful’ erotica, and that Nabokov himself, with this particular novel, somehow got ‘carried away’? Great writers, however, never get carried away. Even pretty average writers never get carried away. People who write one novel and then go back to journalism or accountancy (‘Louder, bitch!’) – they get carried away. Lolita is more austere than rapturous, as all writing is; and I have come to see it, with increasing awe, as exactly the kind of novel that its predecessors are pointing towards...

At one point, comparing himself to Joyce, Nabokov said: ‘my English is patball to [his] champion game’. At another, he tabulated the rambling rumbles of Don Quixote as a tennis match (the Don taking it in four hard sets). And we all remember Lolita on the court, her form ‘excellent to superb’, according to her schoolmistress, but her grace ‘so sterile’, according to Humbert, ‘that she could not even win from panting me and my old fashioned lifting drive’. Now, although of course Joyce and Nabokov never met in competition, it seems to me that Nabokov was the more ‘complete’ player. Joyce appeared to be cruising about on all surfaces at once, and maddeningly indulged his trick shots on high-pressure points – his drop smash, his sidespun half-volley lob. Nabokov just went out there and did the business, all litheness, power and touch. Losing early in the French (say), Joyce would be off playing exhibitions in Casablanca with various arthritic legends, and working on his inside-out between-the-legs forehand dink; whereas Nabokov and his entourage would quit the rusty dust of Roland Garros for somewhere like Hull or Nailsea, to prepare for Wimbledon on our spurned and sodden grass.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe Atlantic, Martin Amis
 
The development of this emigre’s euphuism is a likely consequence of Nabokov’s having had to abandon his natural idiom, as he puts it, his ‘untrammelled, rich and infinitely docile Russian tongue for a second-rate brand of English, devoid of any of those apparatuses —the baffling mirror, the black velvet backdrop, the implied associations and traditions—which the native illusionist, fractails flying, can magically use to transcend the heritage in his own way.’ This, which enacts the problem with characteristic tricksy indirection, also implies its solution as the laborious confection of equivalent apparatuses in the adoptive language: the whole farrago of imagery, archaism, etc., which cannot strike even the most finely tuned foreign ear as it strikes that of the native English-speaker. The end product sadly invokes a Charles Atlas muscle-man of language as opposed to the healthy and useful adult...

There comes a point where the atrophy of moral sense, evident throughout this book, finally leads to dullness, fatuity and unreality. Humbert’s ‘love’ for Lolita is a matter of the senses, even of the membranes; his moments of remorse are few, brief and unconvincing; it never really occurs to him to ask himself just what the hell he thinks he is up to. There is plenty of self-absorption around us, heaven knows, but not enough on this scale to be worth writing about at length, just as the mad are much less interesting than the sane.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe Spectator, Kingsley Amis
 
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
 

» Add other authors (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nabokov, Vladimirprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amis, MartinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Amis, MartinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arborio Mella, GiuliaTranslatorsecondary 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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To Véra
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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Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

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)

» see all 18 descriptions

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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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