NABOKV-L post 0012188, Tue, 6 Dec 2005 22:27:04 -0800

Fw: Los Angeles Times reviews Maar's book
Los Angeles Times reviews Maar's book
----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: D. Barton Johnson
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 6:44 PM
Subject: Los Angeles Times reviews Maar's book

Dear Don and the List,

The Los Angeles times published a short but very positive review of Michael Maar's book. I send it along below.


The lure of 'Lolita'

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of Vladimir Nabokov¹s ³Lolita² in Paris.
By Sara Lippincott

December 4, 2005
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita" in Paris by the intrepid Maurice Girodias' Olympia Press. Nabokov, then teaching Russian literature to lucky undergraduates at Cornell, had been unable to persuade a U.S. publisher to take up his controversial manuscript, so we can't legitimately celebrate our own "Lolita" semicentennial until 2008. Nevertheless, there were observances in this country < including an English edition of German literary critic Michael Maar's "The Two Lolitas" (translated by Perry Anderson; Verso: 108 pp.; $23). It's an amazing little book. Maar has dug up what may have been the source of Nabokov's inspiration: a 1916 short story titled "Lolita" by an undistinguished (and forgotten) writer named Heinz von Lichberg, about a cultivated middle-aged man besotted by a nymphet. The whiff of plagiarism in Maar's title and the flap copy will appall Nabokov's many admirers, but Maar < while drawing fascinating parallels between Nabokov's nymphet and her obscure predecessor and speculating about Nabokov's haunting of secondhand bookstores while he was living in Berlin from 1922 to 1937 < concludes that if Nabokov did read Von Lichberg, then it's simply a case of a great artist fashioning a masterpiece from dross. ("[V]on Lichberg busied himself in his 'Lolita,' rather awkwardly, with linen, wood, paper and string.... Nabokov used similar materials. But out of them he fashioned a kite that would vanish into the clear blue air of literature.") Von Lichberg's story is included in an appendix, so readers may judge for themselves. Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times