Lolita’s Take on History: A Romanian perspective
Entry converted from: https://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/biblol.htm
Despite the widespread belief that narrative may help to explore human experience and self-hood, equally compelling is the idea that narrative accounts can only falsify life itself, inasmuch as they are viewed as entailing an imposition of literary form upon that which is essentially formless and meaningless. Fictional narratives, for that matter, may appear as being the necessary untruths or illusions purposefully built to achieve the desired consonance or meaning or at least an approximation of meaning real life cannot afford to offer. After a brief reconsideration of ethical issues in aesthetics in Nabokov's works as backed up by theory, this paper suggests that Nabokov's ‘ethics of revealing and withholding’ information is nothing but the enactment of the problematic inhabiting of literature by ethics. The issue of an ethics of aesthetics is further developed by investigating the case of a fictional re-writing of Nabokov's novel Lolita in order to show that re-writing may permit new insights into both the cultural/literary past and the cultural/literary present. By rethinking the interrelationship of history, self, cultural memory and meaning via the idea of fictional narrative/autobiography, this paper facilitates the fuller recognition of the profound continuities between ethics and aesthetics as well as life and literature.