NABOKV-L post 0011952, Wed, 21 Sep 2005 11:26:16 -0700

Subject
Fwd: Response to Kunin
Date
Body
EDNOTE. Zoran Kuzmanovich, the long-time editor of NABOKOV STUDIES (along with
Mary Bellino) is among those [Jeff Edmunds (Zembla) and Steve Parker (The
Nabokovian)] who slog along year after year in the unpayed and underappreciated
jobs of producing and editing Nabokoviana for Nabokovians.
I encourage Nabokov readers to subscribe and contribute to these enterprises
-------------------------------------------------.

----- Forwarded message from zokuzmanovich@davidson.edu -----
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 13:52:24 -0400
From: "Kuzmanovich, Zoran" <zokuzmanovich@davidson.edu>
Reply-To: "Kuzmanovich, Zoran" <zokuzmanovich@davidson.edu>
Subject: Response to Kunin
To:

Dear Nabokv-Lers,





Though I usually read Nabokv-L only in digest, a habit that has saved my
fingers from many a premature trip to the "Send" button, a friend has
forwarded an e-mail that seems addressed to me but was for some reason
spread upon the list. While I am not entirely certain that Carolyn's
post requires my response, since the post is now publicly addressed to
me, simple politeness requires that I respond. I'll do so by enclosing
the full text of my original answer to the Chronicle's question before
both the question and the answer ran into the editor's frugal scissors.
The full version of the response may or may not speak to the wisdom of
finding in novels people we have put there, but it should make clear
that the habit of thinking that one has found one's acquaintances in
Lolita is at least a half-century old. Lolita's early reviewers seem
not only to have known a real Lolita but, even more incredibly, to have
known the same girl.





Question 5)- I'd be surprised if many teachers of Lolita have a good
sense of the psychological realities of a person like Humbert Humbert,
would they? And, in any case, is he convincing as a psychological,
versus merely literary, creature?



ZK: Comparisons of the teachers' and students' sense of Humbert make for
some of the more interesting discussions. His status as a tragi-comic
"creep" parading his crime is always a good way to start a discussion of
Lolita. But the book is not titled Humbert Humbert, and those
discussions are not nearly as interesting as the efforts to outline the
students' images of Lolita. The simple fact is that many students
shoulder-shruggingly consign the Humberts around them to the clinic and
the television reality shows about serial child abusers. On the other
hand, students find it remarkably easy to fall into the trap of
imagining that they "really" know Lolita from their own lives, not just
from Nabokov's book. After one of my male students referred to Lolita as
"prey," I started asking my classes to read the early reviews of Lolita
where five male reviewers, all professors, eerily and suspiciously
echoed each other in describing Lolita as "singularly ...depraved, "
"thoroughly corrupted already", "already corrupted," "completely
corrupt", and "utterly depraved." Not even Humbert was so dismissive or
unsympathetic. Some of my female students now find that the study of the
traps into which Lolita's early readers fell is almost as rewarding as
reading Nabokov's novel.







Zoran Kuzmanovich, Professor of English

Editor, Nabokov Studies

POB 6977

Department of English

209 Ridge Road

Davidson College

Davidson, NC 28035

704 894 2237 (office)

704 892 9575 (home)

704 894 2823 (fax)



----- Forwarded message from chaiselongue@earthlink.net -----

Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 06:32:03 -0800

From: Carolyn Kunin <chaiselongue@earthlink.net>

Reply-To: Carolyn Kunin <chaiselongue@earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: MLA Lolita interview in the Chronicle of Higher Education

To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum



On the other hand, students find it easy to fall into the trap of
imagining

> that they "really" know Lolita from their own lives, not just from
Nabokov's

> book. (Zoran Kuzmanovich)





Dear Zoran,



Funnny, I was just thinking the other day that I do know a real-life
Lolita.

Her step-father abducted her after her mother's suicide and he actually
managed to marry her morganatically (is that the word?) in Texas. She
was even younger than Lolita, eleven, when this happened. She was with
him for two years before she managed to escape.



I always adored her. She was fourteen when I first met her. A close
friend of mine was trying to adopt her and though that was unsuccessful
she did foster Tammy through middle and high schools.



Her story has a happier ending than Lolita's. Tammy is now more or less
happily married with two sons. She is a wonderful mother and I am
terribly proud to have had some small part in her upbringing.



I am amazed that Nabokov could have "known" Tammy years before I did.



Carolyn



----- End forwarded message -----





Zoran Kuzmanovich, Professor of English

Editor, Nabokov Studies

POB 6977

Department of English

209 Ridge Road

Davidson College

Davidson, NC 28035

704 894 2237 (office)

704 892 9575 (home)

704 894 2823 (fax)

----- End forwarded message -----