NABOKV-L post 0005463, Mon, 4 Sep 2000 13:03:32 -0700

Fw: Lolita, a query
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kiran Krishna" <>

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At the end of Part 1, Chapter 4 of Lolita, Humbert says that Annabel's
'seaside limbs and ardent tongue' remained with him ' until at last,
twenty-four years later, I broke her spell by incarnating her in another."

However, in Chapter 10, in describing his finding the 'little princess in
gypsy rags' again, he says that the twenty-five years he had lived until
then 'tapered to a palpitating point and vanished.'
Some clues to the time between the two incidents suggest that the latter
measurement is the right one. In Chapter 1, he says that he had loved
Lolita's precursor 'about as many years before Lolita was born as my age
was that summer'. In Chapter 2, he identifies his age as 13 repeatedly.
Lolita, according to her mother in Chapter 11 and in Chapter 5 (and again
in Chapter 19) is 12. On the other hand, the year is 1947, which would
mean, since Humbert was born in 1910, that he is 37 years old, and not 38,
as the first calculation tells us.

Is one of these an error?

Also, an interesting VM sighting. Not only does Peter Ackroyd quote from
The Real Life of Sebastian Knight in the prologue to his biography of
Dickens, the prologue starts off with the line (reminiscent of Nabokov's
study of Nikolai Gogol) "Charles Dickens was dead."


He was the mildest manner'd man
That ever scuttled ship or cut a throat
With such true breeding of a gentleman,
You could never divine his real thought;
-XLI, Canto III, Don Juan.