Lolita Study Guide

Lolita Study Guide

Original title:
March 13th 1989 by Vintage International (first published 1955)
ISBN 0679723161 (ISBN13: 9780679723165)

The plot that is known to everybody, “Lolita” is more than just a book about perversion and child abuse. It is no Romeo and Juliette, but a touching classic about a controversial relationship of an English language professor Humbert with his neighbor’s daughter.

The name of the girl is Dolores Haze, and soon she will even become his stepdaughter. Humbert undisguised obsession with her makes him do bad things: from marrying a woman he loathes just to stay near his object of admiration to even planning a murder.

And this belongs to world literature heritage, you might say in surprise and indignation? No, the world didn’t go mad. Once the first chapter is over, a true literature taste will know exactly why Vladimir Nabokov was the genius of his time. Born in 1899 in Saint Petersburg, he gave the world a present of numerous great books, each of which has to be read slowly, reflectively and with an open mind.

Dirty, abnormal situations, vulgarity of messed up relationships, pity towards those who can’t stop doing wrong. These are the concepts most noted by ordinary readers. But there’s also art of manipulations, paranoia that seizes the man that knows he’s doing wrong, painful losses but even more painful returns and amazing language, be it English or Russian variants of original text.

Despite such a provoking content and total unity of author and his protagonist, the plot isn’t based on personal confessions. The chastity of the author, who was a faithful husband and a great father, only makes it easier to admire the book. The description of the scenes is stripped of personal evaluation and completely open to your interpretation.

“Lolita” is a book that won’t be read with enjoyment. So don’t start reading the book is you are looking for love, romance and heartbreaking feelings. But if you are into real writing, the words that let you feel in the middle of the situation, subtle references to art, literature, great metaphors, rich language, meanings hidden in between the lines – then put the book on your bucket list. Allow some time for the reading - it must be consumed with full emersion into its world.

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