2 Answers

  1. No, it doesn't romanticize, on the contrary.
    Lolita is not a simple novel at all, and the version that Nabokov wrote it only for money is refuted, for example, by Brian Boyd in the most authoritative biography of Nabokov (“Vladimir Nabokov. American Years”). It describes a long and painstaking history of creation, you can read it if you are interested.
    But it's not just the amount of time spent writing the text. To answer your question, we need to start with the structure of the novel.
    First, the text has triple authorship. Humbert Humbert is the “author” of the main text, the actual “Notes of a light-skinned widower”. John Ray is the “author” of the preface and the editor of these notes. Finally, Vladimir Nabokov is a real “zatekstovy” author who built this complex system. Why would he do that? This structure of the novel allows Nabokov himself to “separate” from the narrator's personality (although, judging by the question, even this did not save him), and also warns the reader that everything that is said next should be treated super — critically (John Ray is described in the two-page preface as an outright idiot, and Humbert Humbert, generally speaking, writes an exculpatory speech for the court of earthly and heavenly, so we should expect from him in the romantic basis of pedophilia, for example). In addition, this structure allows Nabokov to exist in the novel as a creator, who in various ways contradicts what Humbert Humbert tells us. Even if you only pay attention to the event canvas, you may notice that something doesn't add up: he loved Lolita so much, so much that she chose to run away from him to a real pornographer and pervert, and then live and work anywhere and with anyone (after a few years Humbert finds her in poverty, married to an invalid), but not to return, despite the fact that he promised her complete happiness and full security. Doesn't sound very much like romanticizing pedophilia, does it? Rather, Humbert Humbert, despite everything he tells us and does for Lolita (basically, all he really does is buy her whatever she asks for), has ruined the child's life. Lolita, by the way, dies some time after Humbert meets her for the last time-i.e. Nabokov does not leave any chance of improving the situation at all. Lolita will never live a normal life, and only Humbert is to blame for this (and, in addition to molesting the girl, Humbert is indirectly responsible for the death of her mother — so there is a complete set).

    Secondly, in addition to the plot level, the text has a symbolic and leitmotif level (built precisely by the creator — Nabokov). I won't go into too much detail, but at this level you can see even more clearly how Nabokov surrounds Humbert with elements that signal, say, the “wrongness” of his behavior. Actually, I wrote a diploma on this topic — about the stretch “heaven” and “hell” in the novel: and Humbert, despite his efforts to justify himself (by the way, he justifies not pedophilia at all, but murder), is clearly placed on the pole of “hell”.

    Why then is the novel perceived as romanticizing and justifying pedophilia? Nabokov's work relies on an intelligent reader who can solve its riddles and ciphers. And a text that seems to positively describe pedophilia is a kind of defense against the fool. Those who believe it will discard the book, and that's all, and those who are critical will find a lot of interesting things. For example, the fact that the novel is largely about art, and more precisely about Pushkin's question of “genius and villainy”: Humbert is certainly talented, but still a villain. And this will never allow him to grow into a genius, even though he dreams and has claims.�

    By the way, “Lolita” is not Nabokov's first text on pedophilia. Before that, the story “The Wizard” was written with a close plot and an unequivocal censure of the hero and the novel “Camera Obscura”, which describes the hero's relationship with a sixteen-year-old girl, which destroyed the lives of several people and even caused the death of a child.�
    Something like that.

  2. I was wondering this question. The most memorable answer to this question was given by Yuri Nikitin in the book “How to become a writer”. In the chapter, he discussed whether to write smart books, but for a very narrow circle of readers, or “pop”, but to have a huge audience. In the end, he gave an example with “Lolita”. I quote: “Almost the only example when such an author of the most refined prose, Vladimir Nabokov, in order to get rid of and prove it, wrote the simplest tabloid thing, designed for low, and thus broad tastes… I'm talking about “Lolita” if someone still hasn't got out of the tank. Nabokov earned hundreds of times more on it than for all the “smart” novels, laughed, won, and … continued to create the most exquisite literary lace, visible only to a few!..

    So, for the readers of Lolita, Nabokov “wrote up” after it, ” wrote worse and worse.” Nabokov's path is probably correct. It is necessary to give out a book from time to time for the widest possible audience.”Whether this is true is another question, but the version gets into my head.

Leave a Reply