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Lolita: The Screenplay
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Lolita: The Screenplay

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  291 ratings  ·  19 reviews
As it charts the hypnotized progress of Humbert Humbert, a hypercivilized and amoral European emigre, into the orbit of a treacherously lovely and utterly unimpressionable preteen, Lolita: A Screenplay gleefully demolishes a host of stereotypes - sexual, moral, and aesthetic. Not least among the casualties is the notion that cinema and literature are two separate spheres. ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 26th 1997 by Vintage (first published 1960)
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3.89  · 
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Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why should one read VN’s screenplay of Lolita? First, because it’s an enjoyable 2-hour alternative to re-reading the novel — “purely as a vivacious variant of an old novel,” as VN puts it in his introduction.

Secondly, for the “deleted scenes” that Nabokov removed from the novel but reused for the screenplay such as a Humbert being given a grotesquely humorous guided tour of the ruins of the nonexistent McCoo home where Humbert was to have lived, but which has burned down before his arrival. Anot
May 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lolita is in my top five novels I’ve ever read. And I am a huge fan of Kubrick and his filmed version. So I don’t know why it took me so long to read Nabokov’s version of the screenplay, which differs greatly from Kubrick’s. It’s brilliant, of course. And, in an introduction, Nabokov says some pithy things about the 3 versions: original novel, Kubrick’s film and this screenplay. It’s interesting to read because, as he admits in the introduction, Nabokov did not know how to write a movie and this ...more
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it
In his foreword, Nab0kov states he might publish his modified screenplay "...not in pettish refutation of a munificent film, but purely as a vivacious variant of an old novel."* Since much of the novel itself takes place in Humbert's brain, the book itself is almost unfilmable. Which raises the big question: why try a film anyway? The answer is rather obvious: Nabokov+Kubrick+controversy=Big Box Office in (theory). But I digress: Nabokov does provide to us a slightly new variant of his classic n ...more
Nov 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Novel, but not as novel as the novel. (How d'you like that wordplay, Mr. Nabokov?!)

I get the sense that Nabokov adapted the book to see if he could, whereas Kubrick adapted the book because he had a vision of how it would look on-screen.
Katie Stockton
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Obviously didn’t slap as hard as the novel but yeah still slaps
Eric  Cepela
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
has some fun lines. was afraid it would challenge my interpretation of the novel. hardly scathed. nabokov himself couldn't tell me otherwise.
Aug 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nabokov, plays
As it's Nabokov and it's his Lolita, there are inevitably a lot of great things about this screenplay, especially compared to Kubrick's Lolita, which is enjoyable but a different creature altogether. Nabokov is himself throughout the entire screenplay and is often quite witty in the stage directions -- for instance, a narrator for a commercial about peaches is "A FRUITY VOICE". Or Nabokov takes the time to be humorous: the collie that was supposed to be hit by the van, the van that instead struc ...more
Kate Savage
Mar 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Up until the final scene, I was actually more engaged with this screenplay than I had been with the novel. This was for the same reason that the novelic screenplay is normally criticized: so much is left out. While the novel is sunk deep in the folds of Humbert Humbert's mind, the screenplay has to stop short. The film requires detachment. And in the white space left by this detachment, you begin to see, for the first time, the ostensible subject of the book and the movie: Lolita. Dolly. She has ...more
Ben Benson
The screenplay of Lolita is in a similar structure to the Kubrick film in that it begins with the end, and then traces down the major stomping grounds of the novel, Ramsdale, the road, Beardsley, the road, Lolita's home, and for the screenplay it pretty much ends there whereas the Kubrick film replays the intro with a little more added.

The differences between the Kubrick film and the Nabokov screenplay are rather different outside of the major plot points that must be touched upon and Nabokov's
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama
Given that this was his only screenplay, it's pretty incredible just how well-done this is. Granted, N had written several plays and was a cinephile, so he had a lot of the necessary skill set. But even with that in mind, I was amazed by just how well he spoke the language of the cinema and perfectly understood what needed to go into a good screenplay. The prologue is dazzling in how well it conveys information and exposition without being obvious about it. The whole thing is so artistically and ...more
Larry Wang
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nabokov, plays, american
Not nearly as captivating as the virtuosic novel, but a fine work in itself. Lolita doesn't translate well as a screenplay because now all the events as shown from a camera-like omniscient view, instead of the fuzzy, multi-layered vision we get from Humbert Humbert. There were some elements of this screenplay I didn't like all that much, particularly the awkward narration of John Ray Jr. However, certain new phrases of classic Nabokovian genius are born here such as

"...solarizing your solar p
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Absolutely AMAZING. A must read.
more readable than the novel itself, though less delicate
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
10 years ago I read Lolita the book. I didn’t get anything out of it for throughout my teenage I never read any romance novels — and hence the whole grammar of courtship, the central motif of Lolita, was lost to my deaf ears at that time — except one thing: whatever is going on between Humbert and Lolita is not love.

It took me a long time to catch up and blend in the rule, the grammar, the institution of romance/dating/whatever-the-hell; but at the end of the day I found such knowledge self-undo
Oct 16, 2008 rated it liked it
pada awalnya, penulis mengatakan sesuatu yang memang bener akan terjadi pada pembaca..bahwa pembaca akan merasa aneh, bahkan jijik dengan perilaku pedophile yang di derita si pemeran utama, tapi pada akhirnya -penulis tetap yakin- pembaca akan jatuh cinta pada tokoh utamanya..
man, that's totally right..XD
pertamanya bener2 aneh ngebaca cerita ttg seorang pria tua yang jatuh cinta pada seorang gadis, bukan, anak kecil yang berumur 25 taun lebih tua..duh, aneh bgt si..sakit kali ni orang yak..gitu
Julian Darius
Dec 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Read the novel first (preferably in the annotated edition). Then read Nabokov's fascinating screen adaptation of his celebrated novel. It's different, but the choices Nabokov makes are fascinating. They suggest that he didn't see his own novel as a sacred text, but rather something that could be adapted and changed for a different medium.

Plus, there's a wonderful metatextual moment, where Lo and Humbert Humbert meet a certain professorly character.

Well worth your time.
Vlad Gheorghe
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Libro etereo, di una raffinatezza mai vista, che tiene costantemente sospeso il lettore tra la bellezza e la repulsione, accompagnato da un personaggio poetico e splendidamente, profondamente maligno. Non trovo le parole adatte per definire quest'opera.
Jul 25, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: in-my-library
No, it's not so perfect as the novel, but it's still Nabokov, so you could do a lot worse. You need only read it if you are a one of his true devotees.
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is all about the exquisite prose and fascinating characters!!
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Russian: Владимир Владимирович Набоков .

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin, was a Russian-American novelist. Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist. He also made significant contributions to lepidoptery, and had a big interest in chess problems.

Nabokov's Lolita (1955) is frequen