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Thread: Lolita - Let the discussion begin!

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    A*O
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    Default Lolita - Let the discussion begin!

    What the hell, if you were going to read it you will have done so by now so let's get the ball rolling. I know several of you are champing at the bit.
    Reminder: November's book is Life of Pi by Yann Martel - discussion mid Nov.
    We will take a vote on December's book in a week or so's time so if you have any nominations please post in the other thread.

    The floor is open ladies............
    Why do people say "Grow some balls"? Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding! -Betty White

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    Gold Member Elise's Avatar
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    Ahh--I can't believe it's already time to discuss.

    I will be done by Monday-- I PROMISE & will come back then!!!
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    Super Moderator NoDayButToday's Avatar
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    Gah, only half done! And I won't be done by Monday b/c I have to write a major paper for Tuesday and have Homecoming this weekend (both part of why I've been slacking on the reading). I'll be back when I finish, hopefully soon...

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    Silver Member zebracakes's Avatar
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    First, let me say that I think Nabokov had a great way with words. My favorite line in the whole book:

    "...his hirsute thighs dripping with bright droplets, his tight wet black bathing trunks bloated and bursting with vigor where his great fat bullybag was pulled up and back like a padded shield over his reversed manhood."

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    OK I'll kick off - I didn't find this an easy read, mainly because I don't really like Nabokov's style - a bit too flowery for my taste. I don't see either Humbert or Lolita as 'victims'. He is immoral and she is amoral. Neither do I see him as a predatory paedophile, Lolita knows exactly what she's doing and being underage merely puts the law on her side and he is just pathetic and weak. I'm not condoning his behaviour - but I can absolutely understand why a lonely, unfulfilled middle-aged man might find himself in this situation.
    Why do people say "Grow some balls"? Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding! -Betty White

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    Super Moderator NoDayButToday's Avatar
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    The only reason this wasn't an easy read for me is the subject matter. There were a lot of times where I got a little sickened by it when I remembered the ages of the characters and had to either force myself to continue reading or put it down for a little bit. I didn't think it would affect me that much, I usually have a pretty strong will.

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    Elite Member Glasgow53's Avatar
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    Does anyone else feel that Nabokov doesn't really like Humbert? He often refers to him in depracatory ways. That is odd, because usually you want to like the main character, but there isn't anyone I liked in this book. Humbert is a perv, Lolita is a manipulating wench, the mother is stupid (although pitiable), anyone else?
    Keep passing the open windows.

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    Some people believe the story is a not-very-subtle attack on middle-aged Charlie Chaplin who married the barely-legal Oonah O'Neil, daughter of playwright Eugene. It caused a huge scandal at the time and Nobokov didn't approve. Charlie Chaplin = Humbert Humbert?

    I admire Nabokov (and his publishers) for tackling a subject that was completely taboo in those days, and even now makes people uncomfortable. I wonder what would have happened if the story had been about a middle-aged Desperate Housewife and a teenage boy because that double-standard is still alive and kicking.
    Why do people say "Grow some balls"? Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding! -Betty White

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    Silver Member BlueEyesCryin's Avatar
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    ala Mrs. Robinson? I think it all depends on the style in which it's presented. Although, I couldn't bear to read Lolita and haven't tried to read The Graduate, Nabokov's is presented in a more sensory manner. It's a bit more visual, therefore more sensual and more disturbing.
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    Nabokov's style is as AO said a little flowery by contemporary standards, but he is far and away a better writer than Charles Webb who wrote The Graduate.

    Lolita is about people who abuse power, whether they're teenage girls or middle-aged men. I think Nabokov's intent was also to expose the vapidity and intellectual vacuum in 1950's America -- the Cold War and McCarthyism had a chilling effect on most intellectual pursuits -- and that's one reason he set the novel in a university town and made Humbert a professor.

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    ReinaBikipatra
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    FYI next month's Playboy will publish an article on the "scandal and achievement that is Lolita" on its 50th birthday. A symposium of writers will comment, including Paul Theroux. I read Theroux's Two Stars on the plane. It is his essays on Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor. When I was a freshman, his son was a graduate fellow in my residential college at university.

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    Was that Louis Theroux? He's done some very funny spoof documentaries interviewing some VERY weird/dangerous people and by pretending to be a naive/stupid American he gets away with asking the most outrageous questions to which people give very revealing answers because they think they are dealing with an idiot. Very clever. Paul Theroux wrote some very good travel books - especially his epic train journeys through South American, China and Europe. Then he had some kind of mid-life crisis and wrote some iffy novels with BAD sex scenes.
    Why do people say "Grow some balls"? Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding! -Betty White

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    To me, the story is a little too unbelieavable to be real. Everything just sort of falls into place for Humbert to enable him to get Lolita all to himself. The characters seem more like charicatures to me than real people.
    Keep passing the open windows.

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    Elite Member Glasgow53's Avatar
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    Add to above, I know the story isn't real, it is fiction. But I wonder if Nabakov is presenting it almost like a parabel to get his point across, rather than writing something that is supposed to try to appear real. Know what I mean?
    Keep passing the open windows.

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    Silver Member zebracakes's Avatar
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    A couple have mentioned that Lolita was manipulative and knew what she was doing. I think my question is was she really this way or was this how she was seen through Humbert's eyes? Like he felt less guilty about his crime because he imagined she was as much into it as he was? Towards the end of the book it really seems like he starts to wake up to the how much he damaged her.

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