thoughts on: lolita by vladimir nabokov

 

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Confession: I am not actually done with Lolita, but I’ve progressed relatively far into the book during my English class’s brain fuel sessions – and from previous friends and acquaintances’ input and my own Internet sleuthing (my greatest weakness is my habitual Wikipedia-trolling in the moments where I should be doing anything but), I am already aware of how the book ends. However, I haven’t included any specifics, so for anyone who is planning to read the book and doesn’t want spoilers, it should be fairly safe.

My first words upon explaining the book to a friend were “It’s the bible for pedophilia,” and while I suppose there have been more accurate, tactful explanations, I feel like my feelings for the book and the general idea are summed up most succinctly in those words. For those (few) of you who have never heard of Lolita, the book is a fictional memoir of a well-read, attractive pervert / pedophile named Humbert Humbert and his long-winding sexual relationship with a twelve year old girl and his eventual stepdaughter whom he calls Lolita.

I know what you’re thinking – what kind of sicko would write that kind of a book? What kind of mental derangement do you need to have to want to read that kind of a book? I thought so myself, marginally, upon starting the book. But, as it were, I’m finding that more and more of these famed classics (although I’m not necessarily sure if Lolita can be called a ‘classic;’ even so, it is incredibly well-known) deal with risqué and even taboo subject manners. Furthermore, the book is written in a way that the narrator, Humbert, is almost appealing to the reader, telling his story and reliving his memories in a way that almost acts like justification to his admittedly horrid acts. He speaks of his ongoing obsession with ‘nymphets’ (young, beautiful girls; generally twelve years old or younger) with a sort of ‘well, I know it’s wrong and I haven’t actually done anything so I’m in the clear’ kind of logic, always justifying each step of his pedophilia. Vladimir Nabokov is also a beautiful writer, so that sometimes helps.

Anyhow, it’s a beautifully written book about something very much never, if ever, spoken about in society – but, as it were, a book, a piece of fiction.

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