NABOKV-L post 0000589, Fri, 12 May 1995 08:44:28 -0700

Artemis LOLITA edition (fwd)

NABOKV-L has previously reported on the 25-volume Vladimir Nabokov
Gesammelte Werke being put out by Rowohlt under the editorship of Dieter E.
Zimmer. Although the German texts of VN's writings are of relatively little
interest to most Nabokovians, the splendid editorial apparatus that
accompanies these volumes make them an invaluable resource to the Nabokov
scholar. Many of the volumes (about half of the series is now out) contain
annotations and other information that is either scattered through dozens
of other (often hard to find) sources or not otherwise available at all. At
the very least, Nabokovians should make sure that their university librar-
ies order this series.
Typical of the series is volume 8 (LOLITA) which in addition to the
novel's text includes both VN's afterword "On a Book Entitled Lolita" and
the much rarer "Afterword to the the Russian Edition." But these items are
easily available to the American reader. What makes the Rowohlt edition
especially valuable is that it includes three other aids: 1) a seven-page
sketch of the history of the Lolita theme throughout VN's work, 2) a
five-page chronology of the events in the novel, and 3) a hundred and
ten-page set of notes keyed to the text page numbers. Although relying
heavily upon the investigations of Proffer and Appel, editor Zimmer has
unearthed valuable new explications of many references in the text. Many
of these are the result of Zimmer's own studies but, unlike Proffer and
Appel, he has profited by information in Nabokv's own translation into
Russian of LOLITA where he clarified various allusions for his future
Russian readers. This new information has been worked into the Rowohlt
notes. This material has been available since 1989.

The new 1995 edition of LOLITA put out by Artemis & Winkler and edited
by Dieter Zimmer is based upon the Rowohlt volume described above, but
supersedes it as a tool for Nabokov scholars. First, it includes a new
fifty-five page essay by editor Zimmer, surveying the history of the
novel's publication and, more important, its critical reception from early
scandal to modern classic. In addition to a historical survey, Zimmer
groups the criticism around several thematic frameworks: pornography/art,
traditional/modernist, serious/comic, aesthetic/moral, "real"/ fantasized,
etc. In a fine job of synthesis, Zimmer moves through much of the important
LOLITA criticsm ending with a judicious consideration of the current debate
on the "fictional reality" of Humbert's account of events after September
22, 1952 when, having received Lolita's letter, he sets out on his journey
of atonement and mayhem. The essay is accompanied by a bibliography that
provides full sources for all of the items discussed.
The other novelty that makes the new edition essential for the LOLITA
scholar is the expanded version of the notes. In addition to new discov-
eries of his own, Zimmer has now been able to draw more fully on the
research of Alexander Dolinin, the editor of the first scholarly edition of
LOLITA to be published in Russia. Finally, in the final preparation of his
new edition, Zimmer made use of several items offered in response to his
queries on NABOKV-L.
The new Artemis & Winkler edition of LOLITA is a beautifully crafted
specimen of the bookmaker's art. The cover illustration, Max Pechstein's
"Madchen auf grunem Sofa mit Katze" (1910), is enough to make one believe
in Nabokovian "future memories." Given the volume's modest dimensions
(less than 4X5X1 inches), it is hard to believe that it contains over 650
pages. Available in either cloth or leather binding, it may be ordered from
Verlag Artemis & Winkler, Werbeabteilung, Postfach 33 01 20, D-80061 Mun-
chen, Germany.
In closing I might mention that Germanless Nabokov scholars should not
be put off by the fact that the notes are in German. Only the most modest
knowledge is needed to puzzle out the information. Dieter Zimmer's essay is
somewhat more demanding but still accessible. One can hope that his essay
will eventually appear in English.

D. Barton Johnson, Editor

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