Vladimir Nabokov

Kuzmanovich, Zoran and Diment, Galya, eds. Approaches to Teaching Nabokov’s Lolita. 2008

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Approaches to Teaching Nabokov’s Lolita
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Approaches to Teaching Nabokov’s Lolita
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Widely considered one of the twentieth century’s great novels, Lolita maintains an established place on the syllabus—in English departments, Russian and Slavic departments, and departments of comparative literature. Yet its particular mix of narrative strategies, ornate allusive prose, and troublesome subject matter complicates its presentation to students.

This volume aims to help instructors make Lolita accessible to students. Part 1, “Materials,” opens with an extensive chronology of the author’s life, outlines the novel’s convoluted publication history, and identifies useful textual and audiovisual resources for teaching Lolita. In part 2, “Approaches,” instructors reflect on the best ways to illuminate the novel’s ethical quandries and introduce its textual intricacies. The twenty-two essays are grouped by three themes: instructors’ experiences teaching Lolita in specific courses; the literary, generic, and cultural contexts of the novel, including its Russian roots, Romantic tropes and themes, and representation of 1950s American culture; and the theoretical approaches to the novel, which address ethics and aesthetics, the role of readers, and the connection between the author and the narrator.