Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003420, Mon, 12 Oct 1998 16:28:20 -0700

Re: Lolita and Pedophilia (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------

------------------ In my view, "Lolita" is about pedophilia to the extent
that some Hemingway stories are about big-game hunting in Africa. Or that
Stephen King's "The Stand" is about runaway viral infections. It is clear
that all these stories are about much more, with the noted items merely
forming the backdrop for what comprises the "much more." The trouble with
"Lolita," of course, is that the backdrop - pedophilia - is so
incandescent in our society, it blinds many to the drama being performed
in front of it. A pity.

Thomas E. Braun

> ---------- Forwarded message ---------- > From: Jay Livingston
<LIVINGSTON@saturn.montclair.edu> > > The argument that Lolita is not
about pedophilia reminds me of an > introduction that Milos Forman tacked
on to some releseases of his film "The > Firemen's Ball." Forman, against
a plain backdrop, speaks directly to the > camera. I wish I could quote
his speech verbatim, but I saw this intro only > once, many years ago.
Here's the gist of it. > > When this movie was released in
Czechoslovakia, firemen all over > the country protested that it portrayed
them in a less than heroic way. > Because the goverment was responsive to
the firemen and because the > government at the time more or less
controlled the media, there was much > pressure to remove the film from
circulation. > > So, says Forman, we had to go around the country
explaining that the > film was not really about firemen. Firemen were
just a metaphor for [I forget > this important part--but I think it had
something to do with workers or > capitalism or socialism or something
that conformed to the political ideology > then dominant in
Czechoslovakia]. Once it was explained that the film was not > really
about firemen and was not portraying workers--government workers!--in a >
bad light, the firemen were placated, at least enough that the film was
not > pulled. > > But, continues Forman, the film *is* about firemen. . .
. > > And so on. > > It seems that given the political climate
surrounding pedophilia in the > U.S. today, certain spokespeople must
claim that Lolita is not really about > pedophilia . . . . And so on. >
> And we don't even have a government threatening to ban the book. > >
Jay Livingston