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Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Hardcover $25.00
Mar 09, 1993 | ISBN 9780679410430

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  • Mar 13, 1989 | ISBN 9780679723165

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  • Nov 10, 2009 | ISBN 9780307474674

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  • Mar 09, 1993 | ISBN 9780679410430

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"The only convincing love story of our century." —Vanity Fair

"Lolita blazes with a perversity of a most original kind. For Mr. Nabokov has distilled from his shocking material hundred-proof intellectual farce…Lolita seems an assertion of the power of the comic spirit to wrest delight and truth from the most outlandish materials. It is one of the funniest serious novels I have ever read; and the vision of its abominable hero, who never deludes or excuses himself, brings into grotesque relief the cant, the vulgarity, and the hypocritical conventions that pervade the human comedy." —Atlantic Monthly

"Intensely lyrical and wildly funny." —Time

"The conjunction of a sense of humor with a sense of horror [results in] satire of a very special kind, in which vice or folly is regarded not so much with scorn as with profound dismay and a measure of tragic sympathy…The reciprocal flow of irony gives to both the characters and their surroundings the peculiar intensity of significance that attends the highest art." —The New Yorker

"Lolita is an authentic work of art which compels our immediate response and serious reflection–a revealing and indispensable comedy of horrors." —San Francisco Chronicle


Audie Awards WINNER 1998

Author Essay

Like the sweat of lust and guilt, the sweat of death trickles through Lolita. I wonder how many readers survive the novel without realizing that its heroine is, so to speak, dead on arrival, like her child. Their brief obituaries, school-newsletter form:

‘Mona Dahl’ s a student in Paris. ‘Rita’ has recently married the proprietor of a hotel in Florida. Mrs. ‘Richard F. Schiller’ died in childbed, giving birth to a stillborn girl, on Christmas Day 1952, in Gray Star, a settlement in the remotest Northwest. ‘Vivian Darkbloom’ has written a biography

Then, once the book begins, Humbert’s childhood love Annabel dies, at thirteen (typhus) and his first wife Valeria dies (also in childbirth), and his second wife Charlotte dies (‘a bad accident’ – though of course this death is structural), and Charlottes’ friend Jean Farlow dies at thirty-three (cancer), and Lolita’s young seducer Charlie Homes dies (Korea), and her old seducer Quilty dies (murder: another structural exit). And then Humbert dies (coronary thrombosis). And then Lolita dies. And her daughter dies. In a sense Lolita is too great for its own good. It rushes up on the reader like a recreational drug more powerful than any yet discovered or devised. In common with its narrator, it is both irresistible and unforgivable. And yet it all works out. I shall point the way to what I take to be its livid and juddering heart – which is itself in pre-thrombotic turmoil, all heaves and lifts and thrills.

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