By Vladimir Nabokov
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Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first written in English and published in 1955 in Paris and 1958 in New York, and later translated by Vladimir Nabokov into Russian. The book Lolita is internationally famous for its innovative style and infamous for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, middle-aged Humbert Humbert, who becomes obsessed and sexually involved with a 12-year-old girl named Dolores Haze.
After its publication, Vladimir Nabokov‘s Lolita attained a classic status, becoming one of the best-known and most controversial examples of 20th century literature. The name “Lolita” has entered pop culture to describe a sexually precocious girl. The novel Lolita was adapted to film by Stanley Kubrick in 1962, and again in 1997 by Adrian Lyne.
Lolita is included on Time’s list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. Lolita is fourth on the Modern Library’s 1998 list of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th century.
Lolita is divided into two parts and 69 chapters. Lolita is narrated by Humbert Humbert, a literary scholar born in 1910 to a Swiss father and an English mother in Paris, who is obsessed with young girls, whom he refers to as “nymphets”. Humbert suggests that this obsession results from the death of a childhood sweetheart, Annabel Leigh. After an unsuccessful marriage to Valeria, Humbert moves to Ramsdale in 1947, a small New England town, to write. He rents a room in the house of Charlotte Haze, a widow. While Charlotte tours him around the house, he meets her 12-year-old daughter, Dolores (also known as Dolly, Lolita, Lola, Lo and L), with whom he immediately becomes infatuated. Humbert stays at the house only to remain near her. While he is obsessed with Lolita, he disdains her crassness and preoccupation with contemporary American popular culture, such as teen movies and comic books.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: While Lolita is away at summer camp, Charlotte, who has fallen in love with Humbert, tells him that he must either marry her or move out. Humbert reluctantly agrees in order to continue living near Lolita. Charlotte is oblivious to Humbert’s distaste and pity for her, as well as his lust for Lolita, until she reads his diary. Upon learning of Humbert’s true feelings and intentions, Charlotte plans to flee with Lolita and threatens to expose Humbert as a “dirty old man”. Fate intervenes on Humbert’s behalf, however; as she runs across the street in a state of shock, she is struck and killed by a passing car.
Humbert picks Lolita up from camp, pretending that Charlotte is ill in a hospital. He does not return to Charlotte’s home out of fear that the neighbors will be suspicious. Instead, he takes Lolita to a hotel, where he meets a strange man (later revealed to be Clare Quilty), who seems to know who he is. Humbert attempts to use sleeping pills on Lolita so that he may molest her without her knowledge, but they have little effect on her. Instead, she initiates the sex. He discovers that he is not her first lover, as she had sex with a boy at summer camp. Humbert reveals to Lolita that Charlotte is actually dead; Lolita now has no choice but to accept her stepfather into her life on his terms.
Lolita and Humbert drive around the country, moving from state to state and motel to motel. Humbert initially keeps the girl under control by threatening her with reform school; later he bribes her for sexual favors, though he knows that she does not reciprocate his love and shares none of his interests. After a year touring North America, the two settle down in another New England town, where Lolita is enrolled in school. Humbert is very possessive and strict, forbidding Lolita to take part in after-school activities or to associate with boys; the townspeople, however, see this as the action of a loving and concerned, while old-fashioned parent… (Summary by Wikipedia)
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