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Lolita: the interest refuses to die down

Updated on April 7, 2011

Topics and issue related to sex has a universal appeal. That makes sense with "Lolita" for the interest in this novel refuses to die down more than four decades since it was first publsihed. To many critics the book is pornographic in content. This is perhaps the only reason this bestseller has been banned in several nations, many times in the past. However, the controversy surrounding the book continues. Even Nobakov, the author could anticipate before it was published. The storyline presents a fascinating love a 40 year old professor has developed for a 12 year old girl. Humbert, the professor is urbane, sensible, intelligent, self-deprecating, but cynical and in morbid love with a 12 year old girl. “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul...” is the very first sentece with which the book opens. This unique love story though exudes human warmth leaves the readers aghast.

The lead character, Humbert is under trial in the first scene of the novel and faithfully admits his obsession for the young girl. Despite his defenses, the court find him guilty of raping Lolita. “You may jeer at me and, threaten to clear the court, but until I am gagged and half throttled, I will shout out my poor truth, I insist the world know how…”. The professor then goes on to reel out his past background that gives no hint of his pathological tendencies. “I was born in 1910, in Paris. My father was a gentle, easy-going person, a salad of racial genes: a Swiss citizen, of mixed French and Austrian descent, with a dash of the Danube in his veins”. “grew, a happy, healthy child in a bright world of illustrated books, clean sand, orange trees, friendly dogs, sea vistas and smiling faces. Around me the splendid Hotel Mirana revolved as a kind of private universe, a whitewashed cosmos within the blue greater one that blazed outside”. “I attended an English day school a few miles from home, and there I played rackets and fives, and got excellent marks, and was on perfect terms with schoolmates and teachers alike”.

Humbert's description of Lolita reveals his weird fascination with a girl that could be his daughter's age. His pedophilic instincts are disintctly clear not just in his persistent declaration of love for Lolita but his acknowledgement that he was interested only in little girls and not women. As a child he fell in love with a little girl but she died. This could be of some interest to those psychiaterists who research into the causes of mental aberrations. They may even sympathize with him but to common readers he appears a true monster with psychopathic who completely lacks conscience. His bizarre fantacies of impregnating Lolita, so that he can have a new one and impregnate that one and so on are absurd. In his mad carnal fascination Humbert appears little interested in the feelings for the little motherless girl and all he does is please her so that he may devour her and satiate his lust.

Mr. Nabokov probably knows best whether the protagonist deserves sympathy or exemplary punishment. No one would evidently think the professor deserves leniency whatever might be the moral state of the world we live in. Yet, Mr. Nabokov writes with intense sensitivity. The writer depicts an outrage in a horribly outrageous world in which Lolita's fate is indeed horrible and fearful.


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