NABOKV-L post 0012763, Sat, 27 May 2006 13:03:52 -0700

Bollywood Lolitas
V. Gangadhar's article on two forthcoming Bollywood "Lolita" films caught my eye for a reason having little to do with his essay. I notice that one of the filmmakers, Nair, said Lolita was all about "a teenager falling in love with a 45-year-old man".
Quite aside from making me wonder whether he had read the novel, his comment lead to rumination on a curious lapse in (non-professional) Lolita commentary. Humbert is, of course, only forty-two at the time of his death some five years after the start of his escapade.

The sense that HH is literally "a dirty old man" seems wide-spread. My question: Why do so many insist on thinking that HH is on the edge of Altzheimers? He hadn't even gotten to middle age when he launched his affair. I can vaguely understand the inclination to raise Lolita's age from a
tender twelve but why Humbert's? I recall from my teaching years when I would ask a class HH's age the answers were almost always way high. Why?, I wonder.

I would also note that an Indian Lolita already exists in a marvelous novel by Sanskritologist Lee Siegel: "Love in a Dead Language." Not only does it focus on the Lolita theme but is loaded with numerous allusions to "Pale Fire" and other VN works. For some samples, go to Juan Martinez's Nabokov web site at: &

Don Johnson

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