Now a new scandal has emerged: When Vladimir Nabokov's book Lolita was first published in 's, it was considered scandalous. So racy was his description of the love affair between an ageing European intellectual and a young American nymphet that U. In Nabokov was forced to turn to French publishers to distribute the book and it was three years before U. More than four decades later, the initial literary scandal has subsided, and Nabokov's novel, though still generally considered controversial, has become an accepted part of the modern literary canon.
But a German literary historian has once again set tongues a-wagging, stirring up another Nabokov-related literary scandal. Michael Marr pointed out numerous striking similarities between the work of von Lichberg and Nabokov. Marr then went on to describe the "coincidences" and give his take on whether or not they add up to pure chance, literary borrowing, or outright plagiarism. Indeed, the two stories are similar.
Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain appear in a scene from the movie, "Lolita," an adaptation of the classic novel by Vladimir Nabokov. First, and most notably, both feature a young girl named Lolita. And both follow the love affair between her and an older man.
And in both cases, the girl dies. What did Nabokov know? In the medium of film, her character is inevitably fleshed out somewhat from the cipher that she remains in the novel. Nonetheless, Kubrick actually omits the few vignettes in the novel in which Humbert's solipsistic bubble is burst and one catches glimpses of Lolita's personal misery. Susan Bordo writes, "Kubrick chose not to include any of the vignettes from the novel which bring Lolita's misery to the forefront, nudging Humbert's obsession temporarily off center-stage. Nabokov's wife, Vera, insisted—rightly—on 'the pathos of Lolita's utter loneliness.
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In Kubrick's film, one good sobfest and dead mommy is forgotten. Humbert, to calm her down, has promised her a brand-new hi-fi and all the latest records. The same scene in the novel ends with Lolita sobbing, despite Humbert having plied her with gifts all day. Critic Greg Jenkins believes that Humbert is imbued with a fundamental likability in this film that he does not necessarily have in the novel.
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Humbert's two mental breakdowns leading to sanatorium stays before meeting Lolita are entirely omitted in the film, as are his earlier unsuccessful relationships with women his own age whom he refers to in the novel as "terrestrial women" through which he tried to stabilize himself.
His lifelong complexes around young girls are largely concealed in the film, and Lolita appears older than her novelistic counterpart, both leading Jenkins to comment "A story originally told from the edge of a moral abyss is fast moving toward safer ground. Jenkins notes that Humbert even seems a bit more dignified and restrained than other residents of Ramsdale, particularly Lolita's aggressive mother, in a way that invites the audience to sympathize with Humbert. Humbert is portrayed as someone urbane and sophisticated trapped in a provincial small town populated by slightly lecherous people, a refugee from Old World Europe in an especially crass part of the New World.
For example, Lolita's piano teacher comes across in the film as aggressive and predatory compared to which Humbert seems fairly restrained. Jenkins believes that in the film it is Quilty, not Humbert, who acts as the embodiment of evil. Because Humbert narrates the novel, his increased mental deterioration due to anxiety in the entire second half of the story is more obvious from the increasingly desperate tone of his narrative. While the film shows Humbert's increasingly severe attempts to control Lolita, the novel shows more of Humbert's loss of self-control and stability.
Jenkins also notes that some of Humbert's more brutal actions are omitted or changed from the film. For example, in the novel he threatens to send Lolita to a reformatory, while in the film he promises to never send her there. The film entirely omits the critical episode in Humbert's life in which at age 14 he was interrupted making love to young Annabel Leigh who shortly thereafter died, and consequently omits all indications that Humbert had a preoccupation with prepubescent girls prior to meeting Dolores Haze. In the novel, Humbert gives his youthful amorous relationship with Annabel Leigh, thwarted by both adult intervention and her death, as the key to his obsession with nymphets.
The film's only mention of "nymphets" is an entry in Humbert's diary specifically revolving around Lolita. Humbert explains that the smell and taste of youth filled his desires throughout adulthood: The idea that anything connected with young girls motivated Humbert to accept the job as professor of French Literature at Beardsley College and move to Ramsdale at all is entirely omitted from the film.
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In the novel he first finds accommodations with the McCoo family. He accepts the professorship because the McCoos have a twelve-year-old daughter, a potential "enigmatic nymphet whom [he] would coach in French and fondle in Humbertish. Haze offers to accommodate Humbert. Susan Bordo has noticed that in order to show the callous and cruel side of Humbert's personality early in the film, Nabokov and Kubrick have shown additional ways in which Humbert behaves monstrously towards her mother, Charlotte Haze. He mocks her declaration of love towards him, and takes a pleasant bath after her accidental death.
This effectively replaces the voice-overs in which he discusses his plans to seduce and molest Lolita as a means of establishing Humbert as manipulative, scheming, and selfish. Quilty's role is greatly magnified in the film and brought into the foreground of the narrative. In the novel Humbert catches only brief uncomprehending glimpses of his nemesis before their final confrontation at Quilty's home, and the reader finds out about Quilty late in the narrative along with Humbert.
Quilty's role in the story is made fully explicit from the beginning of the film, rather than being a concealed surprise twist near the end of the tale.
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In a interview with Terry Southern , Kubrick describes his decision to expand Quilty's role, saying "just beneath the surface of the story was this strong secondary narrative thread possible—because after Humbert seduces her in the motel, or rather after she seduces him, the big question has been answered—so it was good to have this narrative of mystery continuing after the seduction. The film opens with a scene near the end of the story, Humbert's murder of Quilty. This means that the film shows Humbert as a murderer before showing us Humbert as a seducer of minors, and the film sets up the viewer to frame the following flashback as an explanation for the murder.
The film then goes back to Humbert's first meeting with Charlotte Haze and continues chronologically until the final murder scene is presented once again. The book, narrated by Humbert, presents events in chronological order from the very beginning, opening with Humbert's life as a child. Chapter 11 p40 en escalier: The right to enter or join a particular sphere or group p43 Delectatio morosa: A pleasure taken in sinful thought or imagination, such as brooding on sexual images.
I can imagine that. Don't show your legs. The perfectly appropriate word or phrase for the situation. These gray mornings, so soft p51 primo: The art of training and riding horses. Chapter 15 p66 au Grand Pied: Night terrors p70 peine forte et dure: What a word p72 Une petite attention: Literally "a little attention", a small act of concern Chapter 18 p74 soi-disant: What makes me mad is that I don't know what you're thinking when you're like that Chapter 23 p savoir vivre: Well, not at all! Chapter 27 p aux yeux battus: Elevator clatterans, pausa, clatterans, populus in corridoro.
Hanc nisi mors mihi adimet nemo! Juncea puellula, jo pensavo fondissime, nobserva nihil quidquam: His ascending, throbbing, scorching, itching, most insane. Elevator clatters, pauses, clatters, people in the corridor. No one but death would take this one from me.
Slender little girl, I thought most fondly, observing nothing at all. La bonne dame d'en face m'en offre plus que je n'en peux savourer: So take one of these pears. The good lady opposite offered me more than I can savor. Misses Taille Lore has just given me dahlias, beautiful flowers that I hate. And all your girls, they're doing well? My poor friend, I have not seen you since and although there is little chance that you may see my book, let me tell you that I shake your hand cordially, and all my girls send you greetings p D'un petit air faussement contrit: Do not fail to tell your lover, Chimene, how beautiful the lake is, for he must take you there.
Hey- p a titre documentaire: Let us be logical p Etats Unis: United States p haute montagne: I thought it was a bill- not a love letter. Hello, my little one p Est-ce que tu ne m'aimes plus, ma Carmen? And I was offering you my genius! Son fele-bien fol est qui s'y fie! Search for articles by this author.
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Keywords: paedophilia , incest , homosexuality , Freud , history of psychoanalysis , history of psychiatry , Krafft-Ebing. Notes 1. Freud was aged 50 at the time. Back to Top.
Was Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’ inspired by a little-known story by Salvador Dali?
Psychoanalysis and History. Table of Contents Alerts. Adler, A. Google Scholar. Adorno, T. Neun kritische Modelle. Frankfurt am Main : Suhrkamp. Alexander, F. New York : Basic Books.
Ross eds , Dynamic Psychiatry. Chicago : Chicago University Press , pp. Allen, C. The International Journal of Sexology 4 1 : 7 — Allen, W. A study in genius.
The Psychoanalytic Review 25 1 : 52 — Ambrosio, G. London : Karnac. Apfelberg, B.
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