Nabokov’s Lolita is one of those books that everyone has an opinion on. It divides minds and morals alike. Many have argued that it is a love story. I don’t agree. I think it is a book that is a kind of cautionary tale, more about writing, desire and obsession than it is about pedophilia. But who knows really, Nabokov is the ring master and like all great magicians, he never told the secret as to how he pulled that rabbit from his hat. As I am currently writing an essay on it at the moment I thought I’d post some lines and passages from it.
“She was Lo, plain Lo in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo…Lee…Ta.”
“I am like one of those inflated pale spiders you see in old gardens. Sitting in the middle of a luminous web and giving little jerks to this or that strand.”
“Between the age limits of nine and fourteen there occur maidens who, to certain bewitched travelers, twice or many times older than they, reveal their true nature which is not human but nymphic (that is, demonaic); and these chosen creatures I propose to designate as “nymphets”.”
“I am not concerned with so-called “sex” at all. Anybody can imagine those elements of animality. A greater endeavour lures me on: to fix once and for all the perilous magic of nymphets.”
“I suppose I am especially susceptible to the magic of games.”
“I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita.”