NABOKV-L post 0018563, Tue, 8 Sep 2009 23:01:49 -0300

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Re: "Lolita" review ...
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Sandy Klein:Reader Reviews:
http://www.whatsonstage.com/reviews/theatre/london/E8831252398544/Lolita.html
"... The teenage nymphet doesn’t appear in Brian Cox’s two-hour monologue, but she’s clearly a girl best avoided: selfish, mendacious, manipulative. It’s one of the really clever things in Cox’s performance as Humbert Humbert in Richard Nelson’s faithful distillation – every single word is Nabokov’s – that Lolita comes across as a spoilt, irritating little hussy; it adds poignancy to the fate of this flabby, helpless old man smitten with lust for a 12-year-old, sitting in his prison cell, awaiting trial for murder."

JM: Flabby, helpless old man? I always thought Humbert was in his forties.
Besides, what we get (from a selection that offers "every single word" as Nabokov's) excludes the lines where Humbert Humbert demonstrates some awareness about how "common" Lolita is, while he wonders about the distortions that result from "being in love."
In his lectures on English Lit., focusing on Proust, Nabokov expresses a similar quandary concerning Swann and "common" Odette. In a way, HH and VN indicate that to suffer under "nymphet love" is as unreal as any other kind of ("normal") passionate love...

Juan Martinez offers a "sighting": "... He had advised her as to what to read and had not hesitated to say when he thought she was not ready for a book yet. Beckett, for instance, he had kept from her for a long while and Nabokov ..." ( Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader)-- http://fulmerford.com

JM: Once more Beckett and Nabokov are mentioned together! A curious thing, despite their shared multilingual talents ( where do Conrad, Joyce and a multitude of modern writers enter?).

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