Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026573, Tue, 27 Oct 2015 23:04:19 -0400

The name of Lolita
Maurice Couturier writes:

Dear List,

Jansy says that "it is highly possible that VN had read Lichberg’s
'Lolita'”. Maybe, but Nabokov had plenty of possible sources for the
name; he himself mentioned that it occurs in "Monte Cristo". In a
previous mail, I gave a list of books published in France before 1955
with "Lolita" in their titles, one Henri Houssaye's "Lolita" (1945)
telling a story close to that of "Transparent Things", but Brian says
that Nabokov mentioned it much later in his diary. I have discovered yet
another book with a character named Lolita, Pierre L'Hermite's "Comment
j'ai tué mon enfant" (a good subtitle for Nabokov's novel, by the way).
Lichberg's story has a great deal less in common with VN's "Lolita" than
many of the books I have just mentioned. And of course, there is Valéry
Larbaud's long deconstruction of the name Lolita dated 1927. The
publicity given to Maar's book has always amazed me.

Maurice Couturier

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney
Co-Editor, NABOKV-L

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