Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003217, Wed, 22 Jul 1998 17:27:06 -0700

LOLITA/100-best/LOLITA film
My thanks to all who sent in copies and comments re VN and the Random
House (and Radcliffe) 100 best lists.

The LA Times ran the Randon House list this AM with a couple of
accompanying essays by Wanda Coleman & LA Times Book review editor Steve
Wasserman. See "Life & Style."

The Random House list was drawn up by their Modern Library editorial
board: Christopher Cerf, Gore Vidal, Daniel J. Boorstin, Shelby Foote,
Vartan Gregorian, A.S. Byatt, Edmund Morris, John Richardson, Arthur M.
Schlesingr Jr and William Styron. 59 of the selected
100 titles are published by Random House (or a division of its parent

NABOKV-L (and NEW YORKER) subscribers may recall the NEW YORKER essay by
Styron in which he told the tale of Random House's rejection of LOLITA.
(They did, however, publish Ayn Rand's ATLAS SHRUGGED in spite of Bennet
Cerf's and Hyram Hayden's qualms about its literary and ideological
virtues.) On the plus side, Random House did publish the splendid
audiobook verion of LOLITA read by Jeremy Irons.

Today's LA Times ("Calendar") also contains Kenneth Turan's cool review of
the Lyne/Schiff LOLITA. It opens with a rather startling comparison: "When
towering Abraham Lincoln met tiny Harriet Beecher Stowe,... he peered down
at the woman whose "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had inflamed the North against
slavery and said, 'So this is the little lady who started the big war.'
And so it is on finally seeing LOLITA." (I have not seen it, but look
forward to the Aug. 2 Showtime presentation.)

D. Barton Johnson
Department of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Studies
Phelps Hall
University of California at Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Phone and Fax: (805) 687-1825
Home Phone: (805) 682-4618