Monday, September 7, 2009

Nabokov and Lolita - Nymphets in the bellfry

One third of the way in. So far, this is very European. Professor Humbert plays his old-world intellectual cards for all they're worth, the black widow, Mrs. Haze, oohs and melts and drips all over him, and Dolly Haze just flashes her sweaty adolescent attributes with studied innocence.

Humbert describes the appeal of the innocent-seeming girl in wildly over the top terms, almost as if he's writing filthy poetry. When Lolita speaks, it's dull and flat, like someone who hides everything inside of her, even though Humbert is the one who has to keep everything secret. Mrs. Haze is efusively dull, vibrantly boring.

Humbert sees curves where there aren't any, Charlotte Haze couldn't find anything curved on her own plump body if it came up and bit her in the guts.

I wonder if the name 'Beardsley School for Girls' is a deliberate reference to Aubrey Beardsley, whose ink-drawings are decadent and obscene, and often show prepubescent naked girls - except when they are filled with delicious big breasted harlots. Or odd sexless pudgy man-boys.
He was a man of Catholic sensibilities, so I'm sure he would've loved to have done the illustrated or manga version of Lolita.


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