The recent  posthumous release of Nabokov’s final novel, The Original of Laura, gave me pause. He wanted it destroyed. His son had an excerpt in Playboy, after The New Yorker refused it. I took a look at it, and decided to wait. Instead, I bought Lolita– Nabokov’s best known work and perhaps one of the 20th Century’s most misrepresented novels. Most people think it’s a lust-filled tale of an overly educated pervert seducing a young 12-year old “nymphet”, the same way Moby Dick is just about a whale.  How wrong they are. It’s about limits and transgressions and passions(unfulfilled and otherwise.) It’s about identities-mistaken,assumed, or eradicated. It’s a snapshot of a very particular time in America, one whose mores still resonate today in television shows like Mad Men.The tale of Humbert Humbert’s obsession with young Dolores Haze is surely one of the most consuming and disturbing love stories ever captured in literature. And guess what… it’s really funny.




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2 responses to ““Lo-lee-ta”

  1. Bonnie

    I really don’t think “The Original of Laura” should have been published if Nabokov didn’t want it to be! It’s layout is so bizarre and it just reeks of the want for financial gain. For an artist to have the public see a masterpiece half finished (would probably be) devastating. His son has the control of the estate now, and he has the rights to do whatever he wants with the writing though.

    All that being said, I cant WAIT for David Foster Wallace’s new book. The excerpt from the New Yorker was wonderful. Hopefully he wouldn’t be too pissed by how excited I am to read it. CLEARLY my attitude towards posthumous writing is quite inconsistent…

  2. Bonnie


    “nymphet” should be used way more often in regular speech.

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