Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001521, Fri, 6 Dec 1996 10:38:22 -0800

Re: Lolita queries (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ---------- EDITOR'S NOTE. Alexander Dolinin
<dolinin@facstaff.wisc.edu> is a (if not "the" leading Russian authority
on Nabokov. Author, editor & annotator of many Nabokov studies, his
important article on the chronology problem in LOLITA appeared in NABOKOV
STUDIES #2 (1995). The article, "Nabokov's Time Doubling: From THE GIFT to
LOLITA," is the most detailed and persuasive in arguing that HH's last
visit with the pregnant LO and his murder of Quilty is the narrator's
delusion. Brian Boyd offers his counter argument in the same issue of the
I mention this because many people who write about LOLITA seem to
be unaware of this chronology problem which may have far-reaching
implications for interpretation of the book. Julian Connolly examines
some of these in an article in the same issue.
>Re: a small hairy

Professor Barabtarlo is right: it is not a hand because there are no
indications in the text that Humbert's hands are (1)small and (2) hairy.
On the contrary, they are definitely big (see p.274 of Annotated Lolita;
the Russian translation -- the very first source anyone who wants to
interpret something in *Lolita* should consult -- adds "krupnye
kostiashki" to the description). As for hairy limbs, they are an attribute
of "McFate" rather than HH: see "long hairy arm of Coincidence" (105),
hairy calves of Quilty (294), or "the black hairs on the back of his
[Quilty's] pudgy hands" (295). If we again check the Russian translation,
we'll see that Nabokov rendered "hairy hermaphrodite" as "mokhnatyi
germafrodit," which implies associations not with the human body but with
beasts, birds, caterpillars, chrysalises, and, last but not least,
with demons. Cf. Hermann's "caterpillar"/white dog dream in *Despair*.