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Vladimir Nabokov Collection > Lolita Discussion *NO spoilers, please*

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message 1: by MK (last edited May 05, 2014 02:41PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita was chosen from monthly nominations as our June 2014 Contemporary Classic Group Read. Please use this thread for First Impressions, (non-spoiler) Background/Author Material, etc. This thread is limited to discussions that DON'T include plot spoilers, so take care not to give away any plot points! :)

Thankyou! Happy Reading :D


message 2: by MK (last edited Jun 02, 2014 12:03PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Nav links -
(view spoiler)


message 3: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments (reserved for just in case)


message 4: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Looking forward to some robust and interesting conversation surrounding this book. Remember our group rules, they're pretty easy ;-)

Keep your posts clean! No swearing or foul language. Also, be sure to label any spoilers so that the other readers have been warned.



^^^ on the last, regarding spoilers, this is a non-spoiler thread, so please don't include ANY spoilers! :)


message 5: by Kim (last edited May 03, 2014 07:27AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim (whatkimreads) I made a deal with myself that since I already read it as a teenager, I will reread it when I have children of that age (12/14) and see if my reaction to the story will have changed. :D


message 6: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Kim wrote: "I made a deal with myself that since I already read it as a teenager, I will reread it when I have children of that age (12/14) and see if my reaction to the story will have changed. :D"

That is interesting! What a great idea. I did read the book in my early 20s. I'm not sure now if my memory of my reaction is changed by my experience of having raised a daughter to adulthood. Hmmmm, I wish I could remember!

I just know I had a strong abhorrence for the idea of a stepfather bedding a prepubescent child! It violates so many things. The additional violation of the parent/child relationship is just heartbreaking.


message 7: by Pink (last edited May 03, 2014 07:46AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 6556 comments I think that's a very good point you make Kim. I've seen other people mention they felt very differently about the issues from reading as a teen, to re-reading as an adult.

Perhaps in a similar way to thinking that having a much older boyfriend as a teenager is okay, then reaching your 20s/30s/40s and seeing it from a different point of view.


message 8: by Kim (last edited May 03, 2014 08:20AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim (whatkimreads) Pink wrote: Perhaps in a similar way to thinking that having a much older boyfriend as a teenager is okay, then reaching your 20s/30s/40s and seeing it from a different point of view.

Exactly, I wasn't shocked or horrified at all when I read it. Ok, the part where she was actually 12 and had not gone through puberty at all made me think Humbert was a strange, pervy person, but I sort of shrugged and accepted it anyways. Of course I did understand it's illegal and all that stuff, but I wasn't shocked, I was curious about how this could "exist". I think as a young girl, you are curious to know what it's like to be in a relationship with someone who is older because that makes the relationship "serious", compared to the first-boyfriend-type. So I agree that some, not all, teenage girls are interested in older men and curious about it and therefore are more accepting towards it, maybe? But when a real adult person tries to think of a teenage girl and a grown man, they see all kinds of things that are wrong about it. I think it's that they no longer have to fantasize about relationships. They have gone throught the real thing already and understand it much better than a young girl does. And even more so when you have children yourself. I completely understand why a mother would be horrified by it! But then again, I think, as a mother, you are always at least a bit opposed to your child having a relationship at let's say 14. Even if it's with a teenage boy. But of course the whole grown-man-thing makes it even worse.

I don't know, there's so much to talk about on this subject! I really hope I will remember this "problem" when I have a family of my own. It would be so so so interesting to be able to compare my thoughts and see if I was right about what I think I will feel when reading it as a mother. :P


Melanti | 2386 comments I've heard the exact same things, Pink -- lots of anecdotal stories about seeing it as a love story while reading it in their teens/early twenties but reading it a couple of decades later and seeing it completely differently. And part of the book's brilliance is that it's so nebulous due to the unreliable narrator that you can find support for either viewpoint.


I actually read this just last year and I almost never re-read things (especially not this soon) but I'm very tempted to re-read it anyway. I did the audiobook narrated by Jeremy Irons which was really wonderfully done but I know there were lots of things I didn't pick up on... Some, like the French language bits, I didn't get because I had no way of looking up translations and I get the impression that there's references to French lit in there but I really don't have much (any, really) experience with that.

I know there's an annotated edition that has footnotes on all these references, and if I do decide to re-read it, I'm probably going to spend the extra cash and buy that version.

Just think of all the references to Poe's "Annabelle Lee" that were worked in there. Even halfway through the book he still quietly quotes from that poem. Just absolutely beautiful. And how much more is there that went way over my head?


message 10: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim (whatkimreads) Melanti wrote: And how much more is there that went way over my head?

I was just thinking the exact same thing! I read this before I had any literary background at all and it seems I have missed a lot. I now study literature at university so I think I'll be able to understand it much much better after I get my degree. So weird to think that you can be reading a completely different book without knowing it, or so it seems!:P


Melanti | 2386 comments Sometimes literature seems like an extended conversation between authors.

Classics, especially, are something you get more enjoyment out when you know the context of that conversation.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

For anyone interested in the Audible version with Jeremy Irons as narrator, I must say I am very much enjoying it so far. His slow, somewhat indolent sounding voice lends itself well to the florid style of the novel.


message 13: by Henry (new) - added it

Henry | 7 comments Never read it (or indeed anything by Nabokov, shame on me), so this might be interesting to get into.

I have heard of Lolita of course, but I don't really have any idea what it's about beyond the comments I've read here.


message 14: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - added it

Katy (kathy_h) | 9320 comments Mod
Henry, I've also never read anything by Nabokov, so I am looking forward to this read. I will unfortunately be out of town the first half of June.


message 15: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments I just picked up the audiobook of this and 1984 at the library today. I have already read both, but both back in the 80s. I wasn't sure if I could fit in a re-read of either, but I think I can fit in a listen, for sure!


message 16: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Copied from this thread:

Posted by Kathy:


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Vladimir Nabokov
source - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir...

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Author Bio
• Birth—April 23, 1899
• Where—St. Petersburg, Russia
• Death—July 02, 1977
• Where—Montreux, Switzerland
• Education—Trinity College, Cambridge


The eldest son of Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov and his wife Elena, née Elena Ivanovna Rukavishnikova, he was born to a prominent and aristocratic family in St. Petersburg, where he also spent his childhood and youth. Nabokov's childhood, which he called "perfect", was remarkable in several ways. The family spoke Russian, English and French in their household, and Nabokov was trilingual from an early age. In fact, much to his father's patriotic chagrin, Nabokov could read and write English before he could Russian. In Speak, Memory Nabokov recalls numerous details of his privileged childhood, and his ability to recall in vivid detail memories of his past was a boon to him during his permanent exile, as well as providing a theme which echoes from his first book Mary all the way to later works such as Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle.

The Nabokov family left Russia in the wake of the 1917 February Revolution for a friend's estate in Crimea, where they remained for 18 months. At this point the family did not expect to be out of Russia for very long, when in fact they would never return. Following the defeat of the White Army in Crimea in 1919, the Nabokovs left Russia for exile in western Europe. The family settled briefly in England, where Vladimir enrolled in Trinity College, Cambridge and studied Slavic and Romance languages where his experiences would later help him to write the novel Glory.

more at link: http://www.litlovers.com/reading-guid...

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Works by Vladimir Nabokov
Fiction:


Novels and novellas written in Russian[edit]
(1926) Mashen'ka (Машенька); English translation: Mary (1970)
(1928) Korol' Dama Valet (Король, дама, валет); English translation: King, Queen, Knave (1968)
(1930) Zashchita Luzhina (Защита Лужина); English translation: The Luzhin Defense or The Defense (1964) (also adapted to film, The Luzhin Defence, in 2000)
(1930) The Eye (Соглядатай (The Eye)), novella; first publication as a book 1938; English translation: The Eye (1965)
(1932) Podvig (Подвиг (Deed)); English translation: Glory (1971)
(1933) Kamera Obskura (Камера Обскура); English translations: Camera Obscura (1936), Laughter in the Dark (1938)
(1934) Otchayanie (Отчаяние); English translation: Despair (1937, 1965)
(1936) Priglasheniye na kazn' (Приглашение на казнь (Invitation to an execution)); English translation: Invitation to a Beheading (1959)
(1938) Dar (Дар); English translation: The Gift (1963)
(Unpublished novella, written in 1939) Volshebnik (Волшебник); English translation: The Enchanter (1985)
Novels written in English[edit]
(1941) The Real Life of Sebastian Knight
(1947) Bend Sinister
(1955) Lolita, self-translated into Russian (1965)
(1957) Pnin
(1962) Pale Fire
(1969) Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle
(1972) Transparent Things
(1974) Look at the Harlequins!
(2009) The Original of Laura (fragmentary, written during mid-1970s and published posthumously)[1]

more at source link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...

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Lolita, USA
A geographical scrutiny of Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita (1955/1958)

By Dieter E. Zimmer

This is kind of interesting: http://www.dezimmer.net/LolitaUSA/LoU...

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Posted by Lawrence at this link:

Thanks for this. I just need to point out that his second novel is called King, Queen, Knave (or Korol, dama, valet in Russian). I don't why there is "Lolita" at the beginning. "Podvig" is the Russian name of Glory

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message 17: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Lisa wrote: "For anyone interested in the Audible version with Jeremy Irons as narrator, I must say I am very much enjoying it so far. His slow, somewhat indolent sounding voice lends itself well to the florid ..."


Lisa, I couldn't recall who recommended it! I picked it up from the library today. Thx :)


message 18: by [deleted user] (last edited May 22, 2014 02:06PM) (new)

Oh, I am so glad MK!! I paused listening any further before I got too far into the story. Actually might begin from Chapter 1 again, just to refresh my memory. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I did though!!

Please let us know what your opinion is, when you have had time to listen to enough of it :-)


message 19: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 1 star

Bob | 4850 comments Mod
I have never listened an audio book. I hear mostly good things, have to give it a try sometime. I hope to read this book next month.


Melanti | 2386 comments I loved the Jeremy Irons version of the audiobook.


message 21: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim (whatkimreads) Bob wrote: "I have never listened an audio book. I hear mostly good things, have to give it a try sometime. I hope to read this book next month."

Me neither... I'm sort of curious though... I'd like to try it, but I don't have any devices to play it on, other than my laptop.

I do remember listening to sort of audio "cassettes" of fairy tales when I was a child! I loved those stories and I listened to them over and over again before I went to sleep. Ahhh I'm only 20 and I feel so old when I think about being a child! Is that weird? :D


Melanti | 2386 comments No smart phone, Kim? No MP3 player of any sort?
You can play audiobooks on just about anything these days!


message 23: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim (whatkimreads) Melanti wrote: "No smart phone, Kim? No MP3 player of any sort?
You can play audiobooks on just about anything these days!"


Nope.. neither of those things.. :P
Never really felt the need to have a smartphone or mp3-player or tablet or stuff like that. And my ereader is a very simple one without sound options because I also thought I wouldn't need all that.

Oh well, maybe later :P


message 24: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Lisa wrote: "Oh, I am so glad MK!! I paused listening any further before I got too far into the story. Actually might begin from Chapter 1 again, just to refresh my memory. I hope you enjoy listening as much as..."

I definitely will! :)


Bob wrote: "I have never listened an audio book. I hear mostly good things, have to give it a try sometime. I hope to read this book next month."

If your library has audiobook CDs or downloadable audiobooks, you should consider checking one out. I'm becoming a real fan! I just have to develop my 'listening skills' more so I can untether myself from following along with the book while I listen, more often :D.


Kim wrote: "Me neither... I'm sort of curious though... I'd like to try it, but I don't have any devices to play it on, other than my laptop.

I do remember listening to sort of audio "cassettes" of fairy tales when I was a child! I loved those stories and I listened to them over and over again before I went to sleep. Ahhh I'm only 20 and I feel so old when I think about being a child! Is that weird? :D "


Definitely not weird! :D

I've listened on my computer sometimes, Kim. It just depends on what else I'm doing while listening. I've used my kindle, my dvd player piped through my tv, my car radio, my kitchen radio, my desktop and my kindle so far :p. I haven't tried my phone or laptop yet :)


Philina | 1562 comments I'm really looking forward to the read!
I will finally know the exact definition of a lolita and will (hopefully) understand how it came to be that someone classifies someone else as "lolita".
Is it because of this book, or did Nabokov name his book after an already existing stereotype of a person?


message 26: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments It's because of this book. The word nymphet also was coined from this book, I just read. Along with a few other words. Check out the Erica Jong article posted in this thread:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


Philina | 1562 comments Thank you, MK!!!
;-)


message 28: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments my pleasure :)


Melanti | 2386 comments Well darn... I've been seriously considering rereading this and just went online to oogle the annotated edition again, and I see they've raised the price $4...it's now approaching double the price of the plain edition! Sigh.


message 30: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Melanti wrote: "Well darn... I've been seriously considering rereading this and just went online to oogle the annotated edition again, and I see they've raised the price $4...it's now approaching double the price..."


ahhh, bummer! Does your library have it? I didn't check if my library had an annotated version, didn't think of it, b/c I had a paperback on my shelves. I was just looking for audio. I bet an annotated version would make for interesting reading.


message 31: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Yikes! on the letter Haze writes to HH. She tells him he'd be worse than a kidnapper who raped a child, if she took advantage of her confession of love, and also invites him to be a father to her child.

Is this some kind of over-the-top ironic foreshadowing?

I wonder what you're supposed to make of the role of religion in this book. Does it mean anything that Haze said God told her in Church last week that she should write such a letter to HH? Or that she asks him to pray for her?


Melanti | 2386 comments MK wrote: "Melanti wrote: "Well darn... I've been seriously considering rereading this and just went online to oogle the annotated edition again, and I see they've raised the price $4...it's now approaching ..."

It has plenty of copies of the plain novel but none for the annotated edition. I might be overlooking something in the catalog but it seems they don't even have a study guide for it outside portions of Nabokov's biography.

(As a note, I'm looking at reviews of the annotated version now and they say the editor points out all the foreshadowing -- which will totally spoil the novel if it's your first read-through.)


message 33: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments hmmm. I really wish I had THAT version now.

oh, so close. My library DID have it. Or, it says it has it. But when I went to put a hold on it (it was checked out), and checked availability, it says this:

DUE 03-19-14 BILLED

... so the person who borrowed it, never returned it :-(. They only had one copy, so, no luck for me there.


Melanti | 2386 comments So we're in the same boat!

Oh well. Luckily for my budget, one of my other June group read books just became available at the library so perhaps by the time I'm done with that book, I'll be less apt to spend my entire month's book budget on one book.


message 35: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Melanti wrote: "So we're in the same boat!

Oh well. Luckily for my budget, one of my other June group read books just became available at the library so perhaps by the time I'm done with that book, I'll be less..."



ayep! bad library borrower >:x

I'm going to be eyeballing that book, tho, I know it. But, well, I still have to catch up on W&P, so maybe it's better it's not available :D


message 36: by Melanti (last edited May 30, 2014 06:49PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Melanti | 2386 comments Okay, this came up in the spoiler thread earlier today...

If you haven't read (or don't remember) Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe, I highly recommend reading it before starting Lolita. It's only a couple of pages long - but it's something Nabokov references over and over again throughout the book.


message 37: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments ^^^^ thankyou for copying this over to the spoiler thread! good idea :)


edit: ps - you should bold the rec for reading before starting Lolita, so it stands out in the thread, Melanti.


Sandy | 57 comments Started reading it. Only on page 45, but why do I feel as though I need to take a shower?? It is really pretty creepy.


message 39: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Matt wrote: "I think the opening paragraph may be one of my favorites. It's so playful and fun, which really belies the subject matter in a wonderfully ironic way."

You mean the opening paragraph to the text, rather than the foreword, I think?


message 40: by MK (last edited Jun 01, 2014 01:41PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Sandy wrote: "Started reading it. Only on page 45, but why do I feel as though I need to take a shower?? It is really pretty creepy."

Super creepy! I feel so conflicted, b/c I absolutely am disgusted by this protagonist and I feel bad that I'm in opposition to other opinions :p


edit: It's HARD visiting the inside of a pedophile's head!!!


message 41: by Alex (new) - rated it 3 stars

Alex | 12 comments I've only read around fifteen pages so far, but it's definitely pretty creepy. The whole "nymphet" justification was particularly gross - the whole thing about them being inhuman.
I really love Nakabov's writing style though.


Melanti | 2386 comments It is hard being in HH's head, I agree!

But I loved the book regardless. Partly that's due to the puzzle of trying to figure out what was going on, but mostly it's the fantastic writing style, the literary allusions, etc.


message 43: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments The wordplay, the writing style, the literary allusions, you all are right, they're really incredible.


message 44: by Sandy (last edited Jun 01, 2014 09:46PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sandy | 57 comments I am so glad I am reading this as an ebook. I have to say Nabakov uses a lot of words I am not familiar with so love being able to look them up as I go along.


message 45: by Suzie (new) - rated it 1 star

Suzie | 85 comments I've just started reading this for the first time. It's been on my bedside pile for a couple of years now. Joining this group has inspired me to get cracking on it. I'm not sure about it yet...


message 46: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Suzie wrote: "I've just started reading this for the first time. It's been on my bedside pile for a couple of years now. Joining this group has inspired me to get cracking on it. I'm not sure about it yet..."

Looking forward to hearing what you think, Suzie!


Sandy wrote: "I am so glad I am reading this as an ebook. I have to say Nabakov uses a lot of words I am not familiar with so love being able to look them up as a go along."

I was wishing I was reading on Kindle for just that reason! So much easier to look up words.


Philina | 1562 comments I totally agree with Matt! I'm around page 70 now and I also enjoy his wordplay (is that even a word? sounds like swordplay), but it does take me longer to read than your average novel. Still, isn't this the purpose of classics? To think about it and to take your time?


message 48: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Phil wrote: "... Still, isn't this the purpose of classics? To think about it and to take your time? "

Yes! At least, for me, definitely :)


Sandy | 57 comments I am about 1/2 way through the book. No denying it is a very well written book; however, I am really struggling with the subject matter. I find myself groaning out loud at times. Am very curious as to what Nabakov must have been like in order to write such a book.


message 50: by MK (new) - rated it 1 star

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Yes, yes, and ... me too!!

lol Sandy, I agree with all.


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