Sunday, June 2, 2019
The Unreliable Narrator in Vladimir Nabokovs Lolita Essay -- Nabokov
Distracted by his charm, his wit, his intelligence, and - yes - his murderers fancy prose style, we may momentarily forget that he is indeed the monster he says he is (Rivers and Nicol 153). In his On a Book Entitled Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov recalls that he felt the first little throb of Lolita run through him as he read a newspaper article about an ape who, after months of coaxing by a scientist, produced the first drawing ever charcoaled by an animal this sketch showed the prohibit of the poor creatures cage. The image of a confinement so complete that it dominates and shapes artistic expression (however limited that expression may be) is a moving and powerful one, and it does, indeed, speculate in the text of Lolita. Humbert Humbert, the novels eloquent poet-narrator, observes the world through the bars of his obsession, his nympholepsy, and this confinement deeply affects the quality of his level. In particular, his powerful sexual desires prevent him from understanding Lolita in any significant way, so that throughout the text what he describes is not the real Lolita, but an abstract creature, without depth or substance beyond the manifold set of symbols and allusions that he associates with her. When in his rare moments of exhaustion Humbert seems to lift this literary veil, he reveals for a moment the violent contrast between his intricately manipulated narration and the stark ugliness of a very different truth. In one of the most elaborately vivid scenes in the novel, Humbert excites himself to a sexual climax part Lolita sits, unaware, on his lap. Rejoicing in the unexpected and unnoticed fulfillment, he asserts that, Lolita has been safely solipsized (60)... ... 3-18. Bloom, Harold, ed. Vladimir Nabokovs Lolita. Modern Critical Interpretations. New York Chelsea House, 1987. Boyd, Brian. Vladimir Nabokov The American Years. Princeton Princeton University Press, 1991. Centerwall, Brandon S. Hiding in Plain plenti tude Nabokov and Pedophilia. Texas Studies in Literature and Language 32 (1990) 468-84. Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita. New York Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1992. Rivers, J.E., Charles Nicol. Nabokovs Fifth Arc Nabokov and Others on his Lifes Work. Austin University of Texas Press, 1982.