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Awe and exhiliration--along with heartbreak and mordant wit--abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love--love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.
Because, really,” I continued, “there is no point in staying here.” “There is no point in staying anywhere,” said Lolita. I lowered myself into a cretonne chair and, opening the attractive botanical work, attempted, in the fever-humming hush of the room, to identify my flowers. This proved impossible. Presently a musical bell softly sounded somewhere in the passage. I do not think they had more than a dozen patients (three or four were lunatics, as Lo had cheerfully informed me earlier) in
that show place of a hospital, and the staff had too much leisure. However—likewise for reasons of show—regulations were rigid. It is also true that I kept coming at the wrong hours. Not without a secret flow of dreamy malice, visionary Mary (next time it will be une belle dame toute en bleu floating through Roaring Gulch) plucked me by the sleeve to lead me out. I looked at her hand; it dropped. As I was leaving, leaving voluntarily, Dolores Haze reminded me to bring her next morning … She did
important to us than scientific significance and literary worth, is the ethical impact the book should have on the serious reader; for in this poignant personal study there lurks a general lesson; the wayward child, the egotistic mother, the panting maniac—these are not only vivid characters in a unique story: they warn us of dangerous trends; they point out potent evils. “Lolita” should make all of us—parents, social workers, educators—apply ourselves with still greater vigilance and vision to
however, after asking me what price I was prepared to disburse, she condescended to put me in touch with a person qui pourrait arranger la chose. Next day, an asthmatic woman, coarsely painted, garrulous, garlicky, with an almost farcical Provençal accent and a black mustache above a purple lip, took me to what was apparently her own domicile, and there, after explosively kissing the bunched tips of her fat fingers to signify the delectable rosebud quality of her merchandise, she theatrically
mysterious nastiness that I am too tired to-day to analyze. I found it later preserved in one of the Tour Books, and give it here à titre documentaire. I read it twice.) I looked up from the letter and was about to—There was no Lo to behold. While I was engrossed in Mona’s witchery, Lo had shrugged her shoulders and vanished. “Did you happen to see—” I asked of a hunchback sweeping the floor near the entrance. He had, the old lecherer. He guessed she had seen a friend and had hurried out. I