Vladimir Nabokov’s Controversial Novel Lolita Essay

2795 words - 11 pages

Vladimir Nabokov?s controversial novel Lolita has endured heavy criticism ever since its publication in 1955. Criticism, however, is always met with opposition, and in the case of Lolita critics and supporters have expressed their concerns and applause vehemently. ?Throughout its history, Lolita has been the subject of arguments veering between the two points of literary value and pornographic reprehensibility.? (Bowlby 156). Objectors of the book have always said that it is pornographic and thus a tale of immorality that does not belong in the Canaan or even in publication for that matter. However, if immoral literature like Lolita should be destroyed then shouldn?t other works like Paradise Lost or The Bible be subjected to such a fate. The distinctions between what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable only exist of a plane of current trends and intolerable taboos. Incest in royal blood lines (real life) like Cleopatra (she was her aunt?s daughter and her brother?s wife) was socially and morally acceptable in ancient Egypt, and is even pompously tolerated now because we are so much wiser and civilized than our predecessors?even though they built the pyramids. Adam and Eve came from one another, from the ribcage, but sex between clones is tolerated in Adam and Eve?s case because we accept their naivety, but today the mere mention of even experimental human cloning (not sex) is considered off limits. ?Incest?is the last, or the first taboo of human culture.? (Bowlby 156). Lolita did survive its critics though, because the book offers more than a picture of incest, pedophilia, and rape; the aesthetic literary value supersedes predisposed taboos, and presents to the reader with beauty not pornography.The beauty is in the ability of Nabokov to turn a cynical plot, with an abhorred protagonist, into a lyrically poetic novel that ultimately reveals Humbert Humbert as a sympathetic character or one who we (the reader) come to understand. Consequently the story is not pornographic but romantic. ?I suggest that we best describe Lolita generically not as a love story or a novel of pathos but as a romance.? (Frosch 39). Thus the novel transcends typically love stories that exist on the surface as unique, but unraveled are full of deplorable cliché. Not saying that Lolita isn?t unique because of its distinctive lovers but because its distinctive character?s, H.H., love for Lolita becomes palpable. In other words, Nabokov allows us to see Lolita as H.H. sees her, and through his eyes we are able to view Lolita in the same light and with the same passion Humbert does. That is with idyllic love and beauty regardless of her age. We understand H.H?s desire and believe in his love. ?Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of my tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.? (1). This understanding of H.H.?s love, however, is what makes the book so perverse to...

Find Another Essay On Vladimir Nabokov’s Controversial Novel Lolita

Should the Reader Forgive Humbert? Essay

2453 words - 10 pages Should the Reader Forgive Humbert? Lolita, by Vladamir Nabokov is a controversial book that elaborately represents and forces the reader to deal with a pedophiles obsession with his 12-year-old stepdaughter. As the reader finishes reading Lolita, he must establish a meaning for the novel which hinges heavily upon whether or not he should forgive Humbert for his rape of Lolita and for stealing her childhood away from her. This rape is legally

Features of Metafiction and Well Known Writers of the Genre

3294 words - 14 pages , a book on American fiction series, describes that “it is difficult to speak of Nabokov’s career without reference to his status as an ‘émigré’. In some ways he seems always to have been on the move, always dancing about, reaching for yet another meaning, yet another witty psychological insight, a new linguistic turn” (904). With the publication of the novel, Lolita, Nabokov has been acclaimed as a great American fiction writer. Vladimir Nabokov

Solipsism in Lolita

980 words - 4 pages Solipsism, which is the theory that one’s mind is the only entity certain to exist, has various moral implications that allow people with solipsistic views of their world to justify their mistreatment of others. In Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, Humbert Humbert, a self-proclaimed murderer and lover of “nymphets”, demonstrates a solipsistic worldview which causes him to see everything in relationship to himself, creating new personas for various

Romantic Betrayal in Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita - FAU Honors College, Honors Comedy & the Devil - Essay

1838 words - 8 pages Meghan Mims LIT 1051-01H: Honors Comedy and the Devil Fall 2017  In Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov bases the novel upon the unreliable narration of Humbert Humbert, portraying his accounts of what happened between Humbert himself and his twelve-year-old lover Dolores Haze. Critically being known as an example of pedophilia, not many people see the novel as portraying the theme of romantic betrayal. In this paper, I will argue that Nabokov expresses

Lolita

3129 words - 13 pages A Love Story: Or Is It? “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins, my sin, my soul” (Nabokov 9). Quoted from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita, Humbert Humbert briefly describes his sensibilities towards his love Lolita. I’ve italicized love for the reason that this book is perceived often as not a true American love story but as a pedophile’s lust. The reasoning for the italicization is because I wanted to emphasis on the point that this

Power of Diction: Vladimir Nabokov

1475 words - 6 pages A theme is any universal idea explored in a literary work. After reading the novel Lolita it became obvious that there were multiple themes occurring throughout the book. In my eyes the most important theme of them all was the power of diction and how Nabokov honored words because they elevated his artwork otherwise dreadful topic. This particular book is known for being risqué, but it is important to note that there are no four-letter words or

Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita

642 words - 3 pages Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita Love, what is it? Love is a powerful feeling that is expressed in many ways throughout our society between men and women. Sometimes powerful feelings can have a negative ending, such as the ending in the novel Lolita. The affair, Humbert argues, was made possible because he resembled a movie star to Lolita, and ends when Quilty offers her a chance at Hollywood, something Humbert cannot do. Lolita is

Foregn Lang

949 words - 4 pages freed him to write more creatively; if, in fact, my own exposure to other languages can in some way help my writing.” Fascinated by all-time best novel Lolita, Sarah Baughman, an award winning writer and academician, conveys in her article a train of thoughts and enlightenments centered around the influence of knowing foreign languages on transforming writing skills. The native Russian Vladimir Nabokov, the author of Lolita, has become the vivid

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

1502 words - 6 pages In Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita, Nabokov elects to ignore the societal need to establish a clear ethical dichotomy when dealing with crimes such as pedophilia. Nabokov instead writes main character Humbert Humbert as a man rich in humor and individuality. His behavior evades negative connotation and conveys absolute sincerity. He doesn’t acknowledge the interwoven perversity within his actions towards Dolores Haze because he does not identify

When Art Imitates Art

1013 words - 5 pages of the Devil talking to a person selling their soul to him because of greed, is based on the story of Doctor Faustus, a person who sells his soul to the Devil to gain unlimited knowledge and all the worldly pleasures. o “Don't Stand So Close to Me” by The Police was inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita, as is clear in the lyrics: "It's no use he sees her. He starts to shake and cough. Just like the old man in. That book by Nabokov." o

Discussing Ethical Judgments in the Production of Knowledge in Both Arts and Sciences

2542 words - 10 pages Pakistan when a highly acclaimed film director, Ahmad Bashir, produced one of the earliest experimental Pakistani feature films titled Neela Parbat (1969) . Portraying the Freudian ideals of incestual love in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita (1955), the film’s subjectivity demonstrated to be overly aggressive for the traditionalist country of Pakistan . Nowadays, the novel, itself, is seen as one of the high-acclaimed novels of our century due to

Similar Essays

Lolita By Vladimir Nabokov Essay

1522 words - 6 pages to himself. Though, Nabokov uses Humbert’s disorder as a way to establish a situation, in which an abusive relationship could easily sprout; it has also created much controversy and debate as an effect. Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita has distinguished itself as one of the most controversial stories in American history due to its questionable content. However, if one truly understands the meaning behind the use of such deplorable aspects of

Other Authors To Be Included In The Current Curriculum

2366 words - 9 pages . Challenging the conventions of literary realism, Nabokov declares the novel a work off artifice, not the representation of unmediated reality” (186). Fate in Lolita signals simultaneously Nabokov’s leaning towards modernism while moving away from it. From this stems one of the reasons to study Nabokov on this module, since “the act of reading a Nabokov novel, of sifting through its layers of images, associations, and allusions is tantamount to the way

Nabokov Essay

846 words - 4 pages A man of many talents, Vladimir Nabokov is known not only for his controversial work Lolita, he was also an avid lepidopterist – in particular, butterflies. There is no doubt that when penning Lolita’s character, Nabokov imprinted several butterfly characteristics on her. This essay however does not seek to investigate the parallels between Lolita and the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Rather, it takes the road less travelled and examines the

Lolita Essay

4860 words - 19 pages De-victimizing Lolita: Removing Emotion from the Classroom Abstract: This paper focuses on Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita. Specifically the argument discusses the need for reform within the classroom setting regarding student reaction and interpretation to the text. Class discussion involving Lolita tends to fall under a blanket of socially constructed presumptions that lend the discussion toward a shallow and judgmental reading of the text