Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023529, Sun, 23 Dec 2012 00:25:48 -0300

[SIGHTING] Candid candy: Hepburn,Bardot,Lolita,
Drouet. 2010/2011 views..
CABINET // Tragic Candy, Time
www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/40/mavor.php -

Issue 40 Hair Winter 2010/11
Tragic Candy, Time
Carol Mavor
It is never a good thing to speak against a little girl.
—Roland Barthes, “Myth Today”

It is 1957, the year Roland Barthes published Mythologies. Audrey Hepburn has charmed her audiences with Funny Face. Barthes has described the film star in Mythologies as “woman as child, woman as kitten.”1

In France and America, a girl sensation is erupting. The public has fallen in love with girls who are roughly 4,562.5 days old (12.5 years). And, for those less Humbert-Humbertish, there are child-women who are older, but somehow not. (Was Brigitte Bardot really so naive as to believe at age eighteen that mice laid eggs?)

“A breeze from Wonderland is in the air.”2 Girls are everywhere, not only in films, but also as authors. Just three years before, in 1954, the aggressive publisher René Julliard scored an international triumph with Françoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse. Sagan was eighteen years old. (By 1957, the childish, boyish, sexy Jean Seberg will star in the film adaptation of Bonjour Tristesse.)

Just a year earlier, in 1956, Vladmir Nabokov had published Lolita and B.B. (Brigitte Bardot) found herself to be an American sensation for her role in And God Created Woman, where she childishly ate and made love with the “same unceremonious simplicity.”3 While the always-barefoot B.B. was preserving the “limpidity” of childhood and its “mystery,”4 the aggressive Julliard scored again. After the success of Bonjour Tristesse, he snatched up the child-poet Minou Drouet and published her first book of poetry: Arbre, mon ami (Tree, My Friend). Drouet was only eight years old.

The familiar myth of the child (as innocent and as artistic genius) was ripened by Drouet. As James Kincaid has carefully schooled us: “We construct an emptiness, a child, and set it to dreaming



That young tender thing would be a delicious morsel.
—Brothers Grimm, “Little Red Cap”

My only grudge against nature was that I could not turn my Lolita inside out and apply voracious lips to her young matrix, her unknown heart, her nacreous liver, the sea-grapes of her lungs, her comely twin kidneys.
—Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

I must be a little rabbit who once turned its fur inside out for fear of moths.
—Minou Drouet, extract from a notebook

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