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Samenvatting
The Title

The title of the book is Lolita. Lolita is the name of the girl that the main character, Humbert Humbert, loves.

The book was published in 1955 in Paris. After being rejected by four American publishers. The French government confiscate books from the French publishers, including Lolita. The American customs do not allow the book being imported into the United States. In 1958 the book is published in the Netherlands and the United States. When a French publisher publishes the book the French government confiscates it again. In 1959 the French government allows the book to be published, in Antwerp the book is still forbidden. Lolita was forbidden in Russia until the entry of Gorbasjow.


The Author

Vladimir Nabokov was born at St. Petersburg on April 23, 1899. His childhood was spent in Russia, but as a refugee from the revolution he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, and took a degree in 1922. From 1924 to 1940 Mr. Nabokov lived in Germany and France and wrote eight novels and a number of short stories and poems in Russian. On arrival in the United States in 1940, he started writing in English – a language he had learned from governesses as a child. After teaching at Stanford University Summer School and Wellesley College he became Professor of Russian and European literature at Cornell University.



About the literature

The Genre

The genre of the book is ‘modern novel’. The story is about the main character. And the epic-didactic genre is ‘allegory’. The story is not just about a old man that has a relation with his daughter / a young girl, but …



The Plot

The main character, Humbert Humbert is very talented. He is a brilliant and attractive European of English / Swiss origin. But he is someone that carries a deep wound; the memory of a tragic youthful love. When he was 13 years old he had become desperate in love with the younger Annabel. Their love was mutual but didn’t last long: after one year Annabel dies of typhus.

This event leaves the confused young Humbert with a deep wound. A part of him will always stay child, imprisoned by young Annabel’s magic. Annabel is the lost paradise – lost until the gates open, many years further.

It is 1947 the story begins. The young Humbert is on his way to a small city in New England in the United States. He gets a job as teacher, since he is professor in the French literature. He moves in with the young widow Charlotte Haze. Humbert is the man of her dreams. But when Humbert meets Charlotte’s daughter Lolita, Humbert has found the girl of his dreams, the girl that used to be Annabel.

Though Charlotte courtes Humbert and marries him, Humbert keeps trying to get the attention of Lolita. Eventually he gets her attention and he seduces her.

When Lollita’s mother finds out Humbert only cares for Lolita and has married her to stay close to Lolita, she gets run over by a car on her way to the mailbox. The strange couple then travel around the country. Then Lolita disappears, a stranger takes her away from him. Slowly but surely Humbert relies that this dream of him is not what it seems, but a fake paradise.

At the end of the story Humbert is arrested after killing the person that took Lolita away from him.



Time

The story takes place in the thirties. But the story could as well have taken place nowadays. The story is full of flashbacks. The story book at the end of the story, and then tells the story from the beginning.


Place

The story takes place in the United States, though the memories of Annabel take place in Europe.


Characters

Humbert Humbert is a brilliant and attractive European of English / Swiss origin. He is obsessed with young girls, and knows that he should play the roll of father for Lolita, and not that of lover. But he cannot resist her, and his heart breaks when she leaves him.

Lolita is the girl that Humbert loves. She isn’t a normal girl. She’s a bit ill mannered, and adventurous.

Charlotte is the mother of Lolita and later on also the wife of Humbert.

All characters have round characters, and a very realistic.


Credibility

I find the story plausible. The characters are very realistic, almost real people of flesh and blood.


Theme’s

The theme of this book is ‘the crusade for paradise’. The main character in this book believes he has found the paradise when he was fourteen, but when she died, the paradise was taken away from him. The rest of his life he has tried to regain that lost paradise, but at the end he has lost hope of finding it.


Language

It is strange that the way Nabokov writes is so English, even though he’s Russian. The language used in the book is not too difficult, although I have had to read some passages for more then ones before I could understand them. It’s a new experience, reading from Nabakov. His way of writing is truly special. Although this book is dramatic, the book contains jokes. For example a long before Charlotte gets a bad accident, Nabokov writes: ‘A few words more about Mrs. Humbert while the going is good (a bad accident is going to happen quite soon.).’. This is funny since, he tells the reader about the events later in the book in such way that it might even be more exiting.


Narration and perspective

The omniscient narrator, mr Humbert, tells the story. The book describes the things he tells the jury, after he has been arrested for killing the person that has taken his Lolita away from him.


Opinion

I find the book difficult but interesting. I find it frustrating, not understanding the story well enough, and missing a great deal of the attractions of the story. Nabokov is a great writer, but I feel I do not get the excitement other people have when reading the book.

The book was realistic, but still unusual. At first I thought the story was about a man that assaulted young girls sexually. But that is not the point the writer is trying to make. The main character cannot live without his lost love; he’s searching for his ‘dream’. At the end when he is about to be taken into custody he sees the paradise in a vision, and the writer tells the reader that Lolita is not among the voices of children. This is his dream, but without Lolita.


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