Lolita (Vintage International) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Humbert Humbert writes a tell all narrative of the steps that brought him to be a murderer awaiting trial.  He supposes it all started in France with his childhood infatuation and lust for Annabel.  Her perfection set his ideal age for the female form at 9 to 13, beyond that they are over the hill. 

This is a problem for Humbert as society is dead set against men preying on children, and rightly so.  Thus, when he sees the 12-year-old Delores Haze, known as Lolita, a living double of his childhood love, Annabel, he realizes he needs to be devious.  In order to get near Lolita, he marries her mother who conveniently perishes leaving Lolita alone with Humbert.

But the seduction does not go as planned, Lolita has been taking lessons in the erotic arts in camp and she seduces Humbert.  The two take off on a road trip across the USA.  The story is disturbing, brilliantly written, and not overly explicitly sexual.  Humbert is definitely horrible, but a rather well-spoken monster and Nabokov tells his story well.

— Deon Stonehouse


Awe and exhiliration--along with heartbreak and mordant wit--abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love--love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

About the Author

Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1899. After studying French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, he launched his literary career in Berlin and Paris. In 1940 he moved to the United States, here he achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic, and translator. Lolita, arguably his most famous novel, was first published, by the Olympia Press, Paris, on September 15, 1955, and became a controversial success. Nabokov died in Montreux Switzerland in 1977.

Praise For…

"The only convincing love story of our century." —Vanity Fair

"Lolita blazes with a perversity of a most original kind. For Mr. Nabokov has distilled from his shocking material hundred-proof intellectual farce…Lolita seems an assertion of the power of the comic spirit to wrest delight and truth from the most outlandish materials. It is one of the funniest serious novels I have ever read; and the vision of its abominable hero, who never deludes or excuses himself, brings into grotesque relief the cant, the vulgarity, and the hypocritical conventions that pervade the human comedy." —Atlantic Monthly

"Intensely lyrical and wildly funny." —Time

"The conjunction of a sense of humor with a sense of horror [results in] satire of a very special kind, in which vice or folly is regarded not so much with scorn as with profound dismay and a measure of tragic sympathy…The reciprocal flow of irony gives to both the characters and their surroundings the peculiar intensity of significance that attends the highest art." —The New Yorker

"Lolita is an authentic work of art which compels our immediate response and serious reflection–a revealing and indispensable comedy of horrors." —San Francisco Chronicle

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780679723165
ISBN-10: 0679723161
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: March 13th, 1989
Pages: 336
Language: English
Series: Vintage International