In a message dated 03/06/2006 16:16:06 GMT Standard Time, NABOKV-L@HOLYCROSS.EDU writes:
Look at these two Oriental Lolitas! The racist implication of the suggestion--as with astonishment asking, "can you even imagine reading that novel in that country?"--competes with its overtly Orientalised pedophilia and confounds the transparency of a marketing strategy that appeals to the most deranged Oriental fantasies of a nation already petrified out of its wits by a ferocious war waged against a phantasmagoric Arab/Muslim male potency that has just castrated the two totem poles of the US empire in New York.
"The original picture from which this cover is excised is lifted off a news report during the parliamentary election of February 2000 in Iran. In the original picture, the two young women are in fact reading the leading reformist newspaper Mosharekat. Azar Nafisi and her publisher may have thought that the world is not looking, and that they can distort the history of a people any way they wish. But the original picture from which this cover steals its idea speaks to the fact of this falsehood."
Professor Hamid Dabashi has done a valuable service in revealing the way that this cover was produced. I love this kind of clarification.
But his interpretation is a little questionable. Are these two females "Oriental Lolitas" or are they "young women"? I myself imagined them as intelligent young Iranian women in their twenties studying English literature. Lolita was a 12-year-old child, not a young woman. This picture has nothing in common with the seductive covers of the paperbacks, or advertisements for the films, of "Lolita".
Moreover, "Reading Lolita in Tehran" remains one of the most intelligent and morally perceptive discussions of "Lolita" that there is. Unlike the decadent, psychobabbling British and American intelligentsia, these Iranian women are "good readers" and "rereaders" in Nabokov's sense. They read with moral sensibility, not some "moral" that the book has "in tow", as Nabokov put it, but the truly moral nature of the book hinted at, for instance, by his wife.
Anthony Stadlen 

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