Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026439, Sat, 12 Sep 2015 12:48:17 -0300

Was Nabokov a Hebephile\Ephebophile?
A.Stadlen: I have not hypothesized that Nabokov was a "paedophile". This
word is used ambiguously to describe both sexual desire for children and
actual sexual molestation of children. A man who desires children sexually
may behave impeccably. He is entitled to keep quiet about his desire. But,
if he makes a point of denying it, he is a liar. I am not sure if this is
the case with Nabokov, but it does rather look as if it may have
been.Nabokov is clear in his condemnation of child abuse -- though, if it
doesn't matter whether what he said is true or not, why should those who are
disagreeing with me believe his condemnation? Why, indeed, should they
believe anything he ever said?

Jansy Mello: I cannot grasp your point concerning Nabokov's "denials" or
your questions about V.N's deliberate moments of "unreliableness", parody,
satire and humor. NB: as I observed before, the extension of this word
outside the field of "unreliable narrators" is highly disputable.

You seem to demand a "confession" from Nabokov when non-social fantasies
(pedophilia, sadism, masochism, whatever) are expressed in his novels and
probed from the outside by his interviewers (when they try to act as
After Freud described the mechanisms of mental defense against psychic
suffering it became widely recognized that such mechanisms, like splitting,
repression causing negation and denial ("Verneinung" in our case reigning
supreme), are unconscious. In such circumstances, VN wouldn't be able to
consciously recognize when, how and to what extent the events he described
in words were related to his image of himself ( we know he saw himself as a
moralist "cuffing sin" who could expel evil like the protruding gargoyles
from a cathedral).

I don't need to remind you of S.Freud's words about neurotic fantasies (I
couldn't find the exact quotes right now, but words about them: " It is
worth noting, however, that Freud wasn't particularly interested in curing
what he called "perversions," i.e. sexual behaviors that don't fit into the
non-incestuous reproductive heterosexual model. He addresses the question of
where "perversions" come from in the first essay in Three Essays. Freud is
more interested in the problem of NEUROSIS, which he defines as the negative
version of perversion. Perversions might be thought of as libidinal drives
that may be socially inappropriate (or even illegal), but which get
expressed and acted on; neuroses, by contrast, are libidinal drives that get
repressed into the unconscious, but which are so powerful that the
unconscious has to spend a lot of energy to keep these drives from coming
back into consciousness. The effort required to keep such ideas or drives
repressed can cause HYSTERIA, PARANOIA, OBSESSION-COMPULSION, and other
neurotic disorders./"*
http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~sflores/KlagesFreud.html ), or about the
dream-work. V.Nabokov's novels often develop in a "dreamlike" style, with
alternating states of successful and unsuccessful dream-censorship when
perverse themes are still safely protected from being acted out in the
external world because of their appearance through the medium of writing and
And, returning to my last posting: why do most readers try to identify the
author of "Lolita" with the aggressor HH and not in the victim, Lo? (the
conscious representation of painful or traumatic experiences may result from
a double reversion of figures and roles: from adult to child, from girl into
boy, from victim to aggressor).


*- I'm not sure that I can fully agree with "Klages Freud," employed in the
quoted lines. The exact words are to be found in Freud's "Three Essays on
the Theory of Sexuality".

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