NABOKV-L post 0026577, Wed, 28 Oct 2015 23:30:20 -0400

The name of Lolita
Michael Maar writes in response:

Dear List,

To answer Maurice Couturier, let me remind you of some brute facts which
are developed in my book “The Two Lolitas”. First of all, imagine you
discover a collection of German short stories of which one, called
“Atomit”, bears a strange resemblance to the early Nabokov play “The Waltz
Invention”. Both of them treat the invention of a potentially devastating
new weapon; both of them begin in the war ministry, and there are lots of
other similarities. In Nabokov’s play, the grotesque hero (and his cousin
of the same name) are called Waltz, German “Walzer”. Now, as you start to
leaf through the German book, strangely so, you hit upon two brothers named
“Walzer”. Hmm. Coincidence? Then you look at the title of the story with
those Waltz brothers. And then you pale: The title is “Lolita”. And the
story in its basic plot is very close to the one we all know. Now, can
anyone with his right wits deny that this goes far beyond possible
coincidence? Statistically speaking, there may very well be some other
Lolitas before Lichberg’s one. But there are no Waltz brothers around. And
since Nabokov must have read the story “Atomit”, he surely also read the
story whose subject, elder man falls in love with a premature girl,
certainly interested him for several years. This denial of simple logic has
always amazed me. Could it be that any association between Lichberg, who
later became a Nazi journalist and admirer of Hitler, and the maestro was
slightly displeasing to the community?

Michael Maar

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney
Co-Editor, NABOKV-L

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