The Story of A Cover girl
+ Lolita: The Story of a Cover Girl will be published in August by Print
‘You’ll never be a writer.’
Nationality: without. Eyes: grey.
‘Mr. Nabokov, I want to be a writer.’ Nabokov looks up from his reading and points to a tree outside his office window.
‘What kind of tree is that?’ he asks the student.
‘What is the name of that tree?’ asks Nabokov. ‘The one outside my window.’
‘I don’t know,’ says the student.
‘You’ll never be a writer.’ says Nabokov.
Starlets and their sunglasses
“I knew I had fallen in love with Lolita forever; but I also knew she would not be forever Lolita.”
|—||Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita|
Listening to a bunch of Lectures about #Nabokov #sundayfunday
+ A Celebration of Vladimir Nabokov | 92Y Readings: Martin Amis, Brian Boyd and Chip Kidd pay tribute to Vladimir Nabokov
...what is called inspiration for me is a matter of recognition
"Nabokov: Behind the Scenes", excerpts from a documentary in production (for release in 2013).
Directed by Yuri Leving.
The Lolita Story 1998
Reality is a very subjective affair
Reality is a very subjective affair. I can only define it as a kind of gradual accumulation of information; and as specialization. If we take a lily, for instance, or any other kind of natural object, a lily is more real to a naturalist than it is to an ordinary person. But it is still more real to a botanist. And yet another stage of reality is reached with that botanist who is a specialist in lilies. You can get nearer and nearer, so to speak, to reality; but you never get near enough because reality is an infinite succession of steps, levels of perception, false bottoms, and hence unquenchable, unattainable. You can know more and more about one thing but you can never know everything about one thing: it’s hopeless. So that we live surrounded by more or less ghostly objects— that machine, there, for instance. It’s a complete ghost to me— I don’t understand a thing about it and, well, it’s a mystery to me, as much of a mystery as it would be to Lord Byron.
I shall not exist
“I shall not exist if you do not imagine me.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
A work of art has no importance whatever to society
I want you to come live with me, and die with me, and everything with me.
+ NYT - Reading Lolita in Moscow: "A work of art has no importance whatever to society,” Vladimir Nabokov insisted. “It is only important to the individual, and only the individual reader is important to me.” Nabokov was in fact notoriously averse to groups or “movements” of any sort, whether political, artistic or social.
Humbert's association with a game is important, because Nabokov plays countless games with language. Humbert Humbert, of course, has a double name. John Ray, Jr. also has a double name of sorts (his initials are similar to his junior status). Nabokov parodies the German-influenced Doppelgänger tale throughout Lolita. The Doppelgänger tale pits one character against some kind of doubled version of himself; Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde is the premier example (and one greatly admired by Nabokov, who otherwise had great disdain for the Doppelgänger, calling it a "frightful bore"). One of his gripes is that the Doppelgänger makes moral divisions between the doubled pair absolutely clear; already we are subversively informed that the hero of Lolita is an immoral man.
summary and analysis
Why might Nabokov have chosen to name his protagonist “Humbert Humbert”? Does the name’s parodic double rumble end up distancing us from its owner’s depravity? Is it harder to take evil seriously when it goes under an outlandish name? What uses, comic and poetic, does Nabokov make of this name in the course of Lolita? reading group guide
eight hours of non-being
In less than a week Aqua had accumulated more than two hundred tablets of different potency. She knew most of them — the jejune sedatives, and the ones that knocked you out from eight p.m. till midnight, and several varieties of superior soporifics that left you with limpid limbs and a leaden head after eight hours of non-being, and a drug which was in itself delightful but a little lethal if combined with a draught of the cleansing fluid commercially known as Morona; and a plump purple pill reminding her, she had to laugh, of those with which the little gypsy enchantress in the Spanish tale (dear to Ladore schoolgirls) puts to sleep all the sportsmen and all their blood-hounds at the opening of the hunting season.