Vladimir Nabokov

Nyegaard, Ole. Uncle Gustave is Present: The Canine Motif in Lolita. 2005

Bibliographic title
Uncle Gustave is Present: The Canine Motif in Lolita
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Studies
Periodical issue
v. 9
Publication year
In his Lectures, Nabokov often pinpoints themes and motifs. His lecture on Flaubert's Madame Bovary contains a fine passage on the equine theme. It is therefore hardly surprising that Dolores is abducted from the hospital by "her uncle, Mr. Gustave who called for her with a cocker spaniel pup" (246). But Nabokov's leitmotifs differ essentially from those of other writers—such as Flaubert, Bely, and Joyce—who prominently employ the same device. In the hands of Nabokov the leitmotif becomes a multi-operational tool. Moreover, Nabokov's use of motifs also bears on his theory of rereading, as well as on the way we read his fiction.