Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025312, Tue, 22 Apr 2014 12:59:25 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] SIGHTING: Charlie Chaplin and Humbert in LO

Barrie Karp sends the following reference, spotted in The Spectator:


Jansy Mello: Great spotting, Barrie! It shows how the general public sees
one of VN's masterpieces and how they judge him under its influence.

I copied the main VN-related sentences:

"Did Chaplin inspire Nabokov to write Lolita? He'd have been a better
Humbert Humbert than James Mason. 'I look bleary-eyed, like a murderer,'
Chaplin exclaimed, seeing a photograph taken at home, when he was out of
make-up. His last wife, Oona O'Neill, was 36 years his junior. 'Part of her
always had to be a little girl, Charlie's little girl.' It sounds horrific.
Oona became an alcoholic and people often witnessed Chaplin 'in a terrible
rage and she'd run into her room and lock the door. He'd try and get her out
and it was all hell.' "

[ ] "His sexual scandals, as revealed in numerous paternity suits, upset
morality. In 1952, his re-entry visa to the United States was rescinded, so
he moved to a villa in Switzerland. (A neighbour was Vladimir Nabokov,
interestingly. Did they meet? There's a subject for Tom Stoppard.)"

I don't think Chaplin he'd make a better Humbert Humbert, a character in
VN's novel, since his writings are unique in kind and "Lolita" was his one
and only love (despite her various metamorphoses into other girls). The
article's parallels are, in my opinion, rather spectacularly wanton.

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