Love in Lolita

1323 WordsMar 3, 20096 Pages
Some critics read Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita as a story of Humbert's unrequited love for the title character; others consider it a record of the rant-ings of a mad pedophile, with, as Humbert himself admits, "a fancy prose style." Nabokov's innovative construction, in fact, highlights both of these aspects as it reinforces and helps develop the novel's main theme: the relationship between art and experience. By allowing Humbert to narrate the details of his life with Lolita, Nabokov illustrates the difficulties inherent in an attempt to order experience through art. As he tries to project an ideal vision of his relationship with Lolita, Humbert manipulates readers' responses to him in order to gain sympathy and to effect a suspension of…show more content…
My Lohta had a way of raising her bent left knee at the ample and springy start of the service cycle when there would develop and hang in the sun for a second a vital web of balance between toed foot, pristine armpit, burnished arm and far back-flung racket, as she smiled up with gleaming teeth at the small globe suspended so high in the zenith of the powerful and graceful cosmos she had created for the express purpose of falling upon it with a clan resounding crack of her golden whip. Humbert illustrates the depths of his feeling for her when he admits that in his assessment of their life together, everything "gets mixed up with the exquisite stainless tenderness seeping through the musk and the mud, through the dirt and the death, Oh God, oh God And what is most singular is that she, this Lolita, my Lolita, has individualized the writer's ancient lust, so that above and over everything there is Lolita." The wit and humor Humbert invests in his artistic reconstruction of his past further gain readers' sympathy and restrict their efforts to judge him. New Yorker contributor Donald Malcolm observes, "an artful modulation of lyricism and jocularity quickly seduces the reader into something very like willing complicity." The memoir contains several examples of Humbert's verbal brilliance and quick wit, but the most inventive occurs at the end during his comic scene with Clare Quilty, presented as Humbert's evil twin. In their death struggle, which

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