I have been playing with a searchable text of "Lolita". Searches on a color that's also a plant are sometimes interesting.
In Humbert's poem that he has Quilty read, there's a line "the awfulness of love and violets". Why violets? There are 8 more occurences of "violet":
"violet shadow" where boy Humbert was about to "posess" Annabel, but didn't.
"yellowish-violet bruise" on Dolly's thigh that Humbert uses as a pretext to molest her (the "Carmen" episode). (There's only one other use of "yellowish", a terrible scene)
"lady swathed in violet veils," the "mistress" of that cocker spaniel that Dolly played with at the "E.H." hotel.
"violet-blue capsules banded with dark purple" that he tries on Lolita, and Lolita calling out "Blue! Violet blue" when she sees one.
"Professor H. might be seen with his daughter strolling to Walton Inn (famous for its violet-ribboned china bunnies" as he imagines how others see them -- this seems less overtly connected to sexual
"my own ultraviolet darling", exceeding all the rainbow girls
"She was only the faint violet whiff and dead leaf echo of the nymphet ..." so yes, the whiff of this nymphet smells like violets, or like the color violet, to Humbert.
Above Kasbeam they stay at Chestnut Court (where Quilty catches up with Lolita), on Chestnut Crest, with a chestnut-lined road to town, that leads back, in H.'s imagination, to Chestnut Castle, alright already, I'll search for "chestnut"!
"enlarged replicas of chestnut leaves" on the columns outside the "E.H." hotel.
Chestnut leaves in the rain when Lolita runs away from Thayer St. and has that phone booth call.
Chestnut trees and leaves seem like a marker of 3 important places -- prefigured twice and then blossom into Chestnut everything at the Crest.
"most penetrating bodkin" of Quilty's guestbook entries was an anagram of "Enchanted Hunters" at Chestnut Lodge -- is this next to the Chestnut Court? But there was a cod-piece-like red hood, presumably of Quilty's convertible, at the Chestnut Court's parking. Did Humbert write Lodge but meant Court? Or is this Lodge in another town altogether?
The only other 2 occurences of the "chestnut" mean strictly color -- Dolly's hair, and a mare whose legs are as attractive as Jean's legs to H.H.
What I am looking for is a solution for "Lolita" like Brian Boyd found for "Pale Fire" -- the spectral theory. The one that's more or less explicit in "Transparent Things" and in "The Vane Sisters" -- the dead communicate to us and change our thoughts and events in slight but consequential ways. Dolores dies after H., so the key candidates are Charlotte and Quilty.
Charlotte is certainly there - she's in H.'s dreams at Lolita's bed in the E.H. hotel, and when he dozes off by Quilty dying in his bed; she looks up with dead eyes at him when he puts down glasses of juice (was whiskey and soda back then) on the bench as he sees Lolita with a stranger, etc. It would have been Nabokovian, I think, to have spectral Charlotte driven by love for Humbert (that last letter to him, what's left of it...).
She's more like Marlene Dietrich, not Shelly Winters. To refocus compassion and imagination on her and her love for Humbert (and who knows what feeling she'll have for Dolly from over there, maybe protectiveness), in my hypothesis, is what the solution would do.
But first, need to show that these are not just figments of Humbert's mind. He talks about this issue when, after John Farlow's change of life, he discusses how once you know a character, some things just don't fit.
An example from "Pale Fire", extrapolating Boyd, would go something like this:
Kinbot likes "Timon of Athens", and no wonder -- Timon hates everyone, and the only 2 women in the play -- army whores -- apear briefly, with a few lines. If he read "Coriolanus", he would have hated it -- a woman, the soldier's mother, stops the best soldier in his tracks. But perhaps he hasn't read it, and Hazel probably hasn't, but she certainly has seen or heard "Kiss Me, Kate" (1948 Broadway, 1953 film) , and "Brush up your Shakespeare", with a most ribald line about Coriolanus, and it could go like this:
Kinbote's madness: "And a street called Timon Alley; I like 'Timon Afinskiy', by Shakespeare"
Hazel's spectre: "Brush.Up. Your... kick her in ... Hahhaha, Coriolanus. How about you use Coriolanus?"
K: "Coriol... Hm, I can work with that. Coriolanus Lane"
Kinbote tells his Zembla delusions to John Shade, mentions Coriolanus, and the poet recalls how (act 2, sc. 3) Coriolanus with the plebes goes into old-fashioned yet noble rhyming couplets of iambic pentameter, and John thinks "It may be fun to write a long poem in this old rhyming pentameter".
For the Carmen episode Lolita's dress is pink-on-pink, and she "completes the color scheme" with lipstick, pink, I presume.
OK, Ctrl-F pink. After the Carmen molestation, after Lolita's pink panties are used by H., and after he is "crushing and tearing again the innocent pink napkin", "a pretty child in a dirty pink frock" hands him dead Charlotte's letters. Pink is dirty now. Pink staff at the E.H. hotel, the room's lamps have pink shades, and while H. is waiting for L. to fall asleep, he sees a very white nymphet in a white frock, an "antiphony" to his desire for L., "brown and pink".
Also, why is Humbert telling us the exact address where Charlotte ordered the mattress -- "firm located at 4640 Roosevelt Blvd., Philadelphia"? And why is he not telling us what firm? There's a Home Depot and Staples there now; who knows what was there in 1947.