A Reader's Guide to Nabokov's "Lolita"

A Reader's Guide to Nabokov's "Lolita"

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Julian W. Connolly

Series: Studies in Russian and Slavic Literatures, Cultures, and History
ISBN: 9781934843659 (hardcover) / 9781934843666 (paper)
Pages: 208 pp.
Publication Date: September 2009

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One of the most fascinating and controversial novels of the twentieth century, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is renowned for its innovative style and notorious for its subject matter and influence on popular culture. This book guides readers through the intricacies of Nabokov’s work and helps them achieve a better understanding of his rich artistic design. It opens with a detailed chronology of Nabokov’s life and literary career, and chapters include an analysis of the novel, a discussion of its precursors in Nabokov’s work and in world literature, an essay on the character of Dolly Haze (Humbert’s “Lolita”), and a commentary on the critical and cultural afterlife of the novel. The volume concludes with an annotated bibliography of selected critical reading. The guide should prove illuminating both for first-time readers of Lolita and for experienced re-readers of Nabokov’s text.

Julian W. Connolly (PhD Harvard University) is a professor of Slavic languages and literatures at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Nabokov's Early Fiction: Patterns of Self and Other (1992) and editor of Nabokov and His Fiction: New Perspectives (1999) and The Cambridge Companion to Nabokov (2005). He has published over sixty articles on Russian literature.

The importance of this book lies in the way it succinctly summarizes critical viewpoints yet provides a fresh and accessible interpretation of the novel. . . . [Connolly] never claims to give a definitive reading of the book, only to try to help readers ‘grasp the full complexity and sweep of Nabokov’s unique creation’ (p. 1), which he admirably achieves.
— Jason Merrill, Michigan State University, in The Russian Review

Table of Contents

Chronology of Nabokov’s Life and Career
Chronology of Lolita

Chapter One. The Creation of Lolita
Chapter Two. The Precursors of Lolita
Chapter Three. Approaching Lolita
Chapter Four. Who Was Dolly Haze? 
Chapter Five. Humbert’s Memoir, Nabokov’s Novel: A Reader’s Analysis
Part One
Part Two
Chapter Six. Lolita’s Afterlife: Critical and Cultural Responses
Critical Reception
Cultural Responses

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