Vladimir Nabokov

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

Teaching Lolita (fwd)
From: Anna Riehl <ANYA17@prodigy.net>

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
anya17@prodigy.net or ariehl1@uic.edu
Ph.D. candidate
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of English