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Friday, December 15, 2006

Reading Lolita in Westlake #005-A

I didn't get a chance to finish "Lolita" last night due to a Christmas concert I was scheduled to perform in. I simply got home to late for reading. Nevertheless, I wanted to write some today dealing with the language of the novel. As I said before, "Lolita" is full of stream of consciousness, puns and other tricks of lingustic style. One critic observed that "Lolita" is not for "passive readers who resist being drawn into linguistic games." I have enjoyed the novel a great deal, and, despite its controversial topic, I feel the novel has gotten a bad rap by the literature police. The fact is inarguable, really, that one could defend the novel's basic content; there is no amount of psychology that can justify a relationship between an adult and a mere child of twelve. What is perhaps Nabokov's greatest social commentary in the work is that of the narrator living a life full of consequences. He loses his young love to typhus and as a result sees the girl transmutated into Lolita. The narrator also pays for disrrupting Lolita's life. His soul is tortured, scarred. Even though I haven't finished reading it, I can sense that Humbert Humbert's decision to kill his rival stems from the fact that he has given hope of recovering his Lolita. I keep wanting to bring the book to work and read in my prep block, but I can imagine what the reaction of people I work with would be. That's the image of "Lolita" that most people have--not the grand masterpiece of literature it really is.

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