NABOKV-L post 0018424, Fri, 3 Jul 2009 02:10:15 -0400

Nabokov's Lolita is quite the unconventional tale of love ...

Nabokov's Lolita is quite the unconventional tale of love

July 2, 12:26 PM

Possible cover art for the novel
Vile. Grotesque. Perverted. Elegant. Enthralling. One might think it impossible to encounter something that embodies those qualities and their synonyms, but look no further than Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. At its very core, Lolita is a tender love story with a dark and sinister twist: the narrator is a pedophile. In a way, it can be compared to the more recent example of unconventional love, Brokeback Mountain. The homosexual aspect of Brokeback Mountain can be very distracting for some viewers, but if the viewer can look deeper, they will find a more than legitimate love story with all of the necessary dramatic elements to make it fascinating. They key difference, however, is the blatantly horrible nature of the actions taken by the protagonist of Lolita.

In Lolita, the middle-aged and highly intelligent Humbert Humbert becomes romantically obsessed with Dolores Haze, a 12-year-old girl that he happens to meet by coincidence and dubs with the pet name Lolita. The unique style of the novel alone sets Lolita apart, as it is told from the first-person perspective of Humbert Humbert as he recounts his gross misadventures to a jury. It is clear from the beginning of the novel that Humbert is fully aware of his evil problem, and he even comes off as remorseful frequently. His desire for what he dubs “nymphets” is a malevolent affliction that he struggles and fails miserably to overcome. Despite his vast intellect, he is unable to quell his urges and descends into his own iniquity and corruption, remorseful all the while.

This scandalous novel gives you a glimpse into the most horrible of human afflictions and will leave the reader feeling more than dirty. Even then, one couldn’t really dub the tale ‘tasteful’ due to the subject matter, but Humbert recounts his misadventures in a very tactful manner and explains his desires and actions more out of reverence than simple lust. He truly loves his Lolita and goes through extreme lengths to minimize her corruptions and to keep her safe, even playing the role of a rather good and protective father at some points.

Nabokov ties it all together with his fantastically interesting style and engaging prose as he elegantly tells this highly unconventional love story.

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