NABOKV-L post 0005206, Sat, 24 Jun 2000 13:51:01 -0700

Teaching Lolita (fwd)
From: Anna Riehl <>

Greetings, everyone,

Last month I asked for ideas about teaching *Lolita*, and now my
Introduction to Literature class is a week away from the novel... My
colleagues were skeptical about my choice of fiction (Kafka went a bit
smoother than VN, mostly due to the shortness of *The Metamorphosis*). I was
told to consider a Latino or Asian novel in order to please more students in
our diverse university. I decided to give *Lolita* a try anyway. I just have
to remind myself that my classroom is unlikely to be filled with little
me-s, much less with little nabokovs. What kind of activities, besides
reading, deciphering, and admiring, can one utilize in an introductory
course like this (condensed in summer on top of that)?

I am using Appel's *Annotated Lolita*. I told my students that this is
the best edition there is... However, they will be reading about 50 pages
for each class, and I am really unsure as to how to approach and treat the
text when it is delivered in chunks like that... What should I do with the
clues referring to Quilty, for instance? Should I give them all away or
ignore them and encourage the students to reread the novel after the
semester is over?

So far the only two approaches I see are close reading and viewing
Kubrick's / Lane's rendition of certain episodes. Analyzing a handful of the
most outrageous book covers seemed like a good entry into cultural
interpretation of the novel. However, I could not get my hands on "Paperback

I know many of you on this list have taught *Lo*, and others probably
have some good advice as well. I appreciate any hints, ideas, etc. Nabokv-L
is truly the best community for this purpose, and I may be the only person
in my Chicago University who dares (or, to be more precise, cares) to teach

Thanks to everyone in advance,

Anna Riehl or
Ph.D. candidate
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of English