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Does reading Lolita make you feel "bad".... 
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Post Does reading Lolita make you feel "bad"....
bad as in complicit, bad as in part of Humbert's stare at the nubile lolita, bad as in a bad person?
this is nabakov's greatest acheivement derived from the act of reading this book. he makes the reader feel part of the conspiracy of seducing lolita--we too are sexually aroused, interested, horrified--that we cannot remove ourselves from, and are forced to finish the book, in whole.



Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:57 am
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I wrote about this, quite a few weeks ago, saying that Humbert made me feel depressed.
We now have so many threads that I don't know where that post is!


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Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:34 am
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Post Re: Does reading Lolita make you feel "bad"....
kbullfrog wrote:
bad as in complicit, bad as in part of Humbert's stare at the nubile lolita, bad as in a bad person?
this is nabakov's greatest acheivement derived from the act of reading this book. he makes the reader feel part of the conspiracy of seducing lolita--we too are sexually aroused, interested, horrified--that we cannot remove ourselves from, and are forced to finish the book, in whole.



I've really struggled to finish this book. I've chosen other things to read and let Lolita sit. Perhaps I do feel complicit, I'm not sure. I wonder if these feelings differ for male and female readers?



Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:18 pm
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Giselle wrote:

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Perhaps I do feel complicit, I'm not sure. I wonder if these feelings differ for male and female readers?


Good question, the members of this discussion have been female so far. Kbullfrog, are you a male or a female reader? :smile:


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Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:16 pm
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I wonder if these feelings differ for male and female readers?


I would think that they do, but then also they probably differ from person to person as well, regardless of gender.
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this is nabakov's greatest acheivement derived from the act of reading this book. he makes the reader feel part of the conspiracy of seducing lolita


For me this book induced a variety of emotional responses that did not always make sense. There was a part of me that wanted Lolita to love him back, there was that part that was intrigued as well as digusted by his desire for young girls. At times I had compassion for Humbert, in between feeling intense aversion for him.

I am just reading White Oleander and Astrid, at 13, has an love affair with her foster father who is around the same age as Humbert. A totally different situation as Astrid is in love with Ray. After their affair, Astrid reads Lolita and thinks that Humbert is nothing at all like Ray. Astrid feels much remorse after the affair as she feels like she is a very destructive force in the lives of her foster family and begins to see this as being her fault, because of her sexual feelings and the aura she gives off because of it.



Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:29 pm
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Firstly, response to Ophelia, i myself am a female. so lovely to see all our fellow females on here!

in response to realiz's reference to "white oleander", i think that there is this strange father oedipus complex when dealing with older men when one is a young adolescent. i do think lolita is a victim in this book, but nabakov has so subtly rendered his topic that you cant help but see it from his point of view....thus the complicity. i mean, humbert is the hero of the book, right? or is lolita?



Fri Dec 12, 2008 4:37 pm
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I don't know if this book would even have a hero. To me, it is like a train wreck. You know you shouldn't watch but you just can't take your eyes away from it.

I too had some problems reading this book. Having been taking advantage of at a young age, it was kind of disturbing to read. However, I did make it through yesterday.


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Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:06 pm
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Raving
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Having been taking advantage of at a young age, it was kind of disturbing to read.


This is sad to hear and I often wonder how many young girls have incidents happen that they do not ever talk about because they are embarrassed and feel somewhat responsible for what happens.

My daughter also had a incident happen that she spoke up about and we took to the police. She found that talking about it and later writing about it helped her to dispell the feelings that she was somehow responsible and also prepare her for how to handle other situations in the future. She is an very outgoing person and has mostly been able to come to me with problems, but if she had not been able to, I think it would have been much, much harder for her to come to terms with...and this incident was very minor compared with what happens to some girls.



Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:39 pm
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yes, this book is very difficult to get through, hooray to all who persevered!
i apologize, but also commend, to those who had disagreeable experiences revisited because of this book, but i feel that we all must conquer our demons....not by necessarily looking at them head on, but to certainly be aware of the stigma that surrounds them....

our society is so incubated, we have to look around the rest of the world. grown men, old men, get married to young girls even today! it is true though that they would be cultural choices, not societal misfits like Humbert.

either way, this book still gets people talking, still has connotations like "Lady Chatterly's Lover" or "American Pshyco" as being a "bad" book....do you feel better for reading it, or is it like a bad movie you wished you had the price of admission back for?



Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:40 pm
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our society is so incubated, we have to look around the rest of the world. grown men, old men, get married to young girls even today


I'm still trying to finish this book and have now reached the last 30 pages. I find myself tiring of Humbert and his perspective so I have trouble reading more than a few pages at a time.

I quoted the above from kbullfrog because I was reflecting on how Humbert's middle-age makes a difference, in my mind, somehow it is worse than if he was only 25 .. but then if he were 25 it would still be pedophilia and the damage to Lolita would be the same ... or would it be the same? perhaps his age makes real difference because he is old enough to be her father.



Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:23 pm
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I quoted the above from kbullfrog because I was reflecting on how Humbert's middle-age makes a difference, in my mind, somehow it is worse than if he was only 25 .. but then if he were 25 it would still be pedophilia and the damage to Lolita would be the same ... or would it be the same? perhaps his age makes real difference because he is old enough to be her father.


I don't know if it is so much his age as his power over her. If she had loved him and wanted to be with him and did not see what they were doing as wrong it would have made some difference in my mind. The fact that she had no where else to go and he made sure she did feel like she could not leave by making her feel partly responsible for what happened. If he was 25 and did the same thing it would be just as bad.



Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:17 pm
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if it is so much his age as his power over her. If she had loved him and wanted to be with him and did not see what they were doing as wrong it would have made some difference in my mind. The fact that she had no where else to go and he made sure she did feel like she could not leave by making her feel partly responsible for what happened.

this is a point i thought very poignant. she, lolita, did feel very resigned into the behavior. and his influence over her as an older man, not a young man but her father's age, was more of an authority. sex for her was a learned act, to apease Humbert.



Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:36 pm
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I did pick up some hesitation in Lolita's voice when she was talking to Humbert when he found her pregnant and married. It seemed more like she was annoyed with him though not filled with regret. I think in her mind she saw it as a need too at the moment and it was just a phase kind of attitude.
To me, the whole book really wanted you to feel sorry for Humbert. It was like him almost saying its not my fault. It's nature's. Whatever! She was twelve! You were supposed to be her caregiver. The "man' (I use this term loosely) who was supposed to make sure she grew up and became a responsible and productive member of society. She had to do that all on her own. It is sad when kids have to raise themselves. This theme seems to be a continuing one (kids raising themselves) I am now read Secret Garden and I am finding the same thing.


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Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:35 am
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I certainly don't regret having read Lolita.
All the things you have written are true, but this is a novel, it's not about abused children or pedophilia-- and yes, I had to read the novel bit by bit because being inside Humbert's mind was hard to bear.

Here is a review I've just found.

" It (Lolita) failed to make the American Library Association's most recent Top 100 list of "Most Challenged Books" and, apart from some troubles (hilariously exaggerated by Nabokov) in finding an American publisher, really has had no significant problems


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Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:33 am
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thank you ophelia for posting such an insightful excerpt--it is difficult to put these kind of reader feelings into words, but that certainly hit the mark. nabakov wrote about the one thing no one wants to admit happens in our society, but it so prevalent.



Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:58 pm
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