Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003421, Mon, 12 Oct 1998 16:37:52 -0700

Re: Lolita and pedophilia (fwd)

From: Oleg Dorman <dorman@cityline.ru>

Peeping at Nabokov List discussions I cannot help proposing a remark in my
amateur English. If one takes for granted that art is "about", that
analysis - although inevitable, perhaps, - helps to comprehend art better,
that those, who feel "Lolita" to be a story of love, can repentantly
(Webster bless me...) change their opinion, then would you resist my
proposing an alternative formulation: "Lolita" is about pedophilia as a
model of unrequited love? And thus is a book evolving a maybe most
profundic Nabokov's theme: there are no earthly ways for a person to
materialize his deepest ideas of happiness - but for creative art.
Happiness is something that can be felt but can't be built.
In my opinion, he faced the theme in "Mashen'ka" without caution
(=writer's mastery), giving Ganin no support in the decision to resign
materializing his dream. There are no moral obstacles to meet happiness:
Ganin doesn't have to kill like Hermann, or defile like Humbert etc. -
artistic austerity which Nabokov never repeated. Among his cast there are
those who are happy; but those who try to become happy are severely
punished. By making them immoral.