Italian nymphets, through Alberto Moravia, certainly influenced Nabokov. I had always suspected that but finally found a sound corroboration in a site [ ].  Alex Beam wrote two rather negative reviews about Nabokov in the beginning of December which were not mentioned here (I didn't want to bring them up, considering...)


Nabokov's "Nursery story" (I'm uncertain of its title, it has a character named Herman making a pact with devilish Mrs. Monde... or so I suppose) and one episode in ADA in a shop where very young Van finds a school girl and falls in love with her and a real pouting rose among artificial ones always led me to some of Moravia's short-stories and novels. According to the writer of the article below the Nabokovs even had dinner with Moravia once (he cites B.Boyd):

“The Devil Can't Save the World” is a short story in Moravia's Erotic Tales [Italian: La Cosa]. In the story Gualtieri, an approximately thirty-year-old famous scientist, makes a Faustian bargain. Gualtieri is described as being “tall, thin, and elegant, with a charming face […] penetrating eyes set in the shadow of thick black eyebrows; silver hair; a large, hooked, imperious nose, and a proud, noble mouth.” And with “the gentlest voice and the most persuasive manner imaginable.”

In an effort to get the scientist to sign over his soul, the devil decided to disguise himself as a female before approaching Gualtieri because “it combines the temptation of success with the often irresistible temptation of desire.” The devil appeared “as a girl studying at the university”, “as a married woman at some social gathering or club”, and as a prostitute but Gualtieri displayed an “indifference” that was both “relaxed and effortless”.

However, after “beginning to despair” the devil happened upon the scientist in “the public gardens. He was sitting on a bench with a book in his hand, but the book was closed. He seemed to be watching something very intently […] With an air of profound attention he was watching a group of twelve-to fifteen-year-old girls a little further on who were playing [hopscotch] […] the game they were playing lifted their skirts bit by bit  above their knees.” Consequently, the devil “had discovered not only the disguise in which to approach him but also the way to make him sign the infernal pact immediately”. 

The devil “got up from the bench, went into a thicket of trees , and transformed […] into a little girl around twelve years old with a thick head of hair, slender bust and long, muscular legs.” She joined the game, but she hitched up her dress to improve her jumping but cunningly “a great deal more than necessary.” Gualtieri immediately noticed that the nymphet was not wearing any panties. He suddenly buried himself in his book, “gripping it tight in his hands.”

The devil was certain that she had “hit the bullseye of his most intimate target [on the] first shot.” And with “a typically cheeky little girl's voice” asked, “I'm collecting signatures. Will you sign my book?”

Who would have thought that a former president of PEN International would write such salacious material? Only the naive. Lastly, for some reason I was not surprised to learn from Boyd's Vladimir Nabokov, The American Years that Nabokov met Moravia. Boyd wrote that “[t]he day after Lolita's English publication, the Nabokovs set off from London for Rome.”
While in Rome they “dined” with Moravia.


De: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] Em nome de Mo Ibrahim
Enviada em: terça-feira, 27 de dezembro de 2016 12:22
Assunto: [NABOKV-L] Did Victor X and Italian Nymphet Prostitutes Influence Nabokov?


Alex Beam wrote in "The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship" that in 1948 Wilson gave Nabokov a copy of "Confession Sexuelle d'un Russe du Sud" that Havelock Ellis appended to the sixth French edition of "Studies of Sexual Psychology". The allegedly authentic memoir of Victor X, a wealthy Ukrainian, contains accounts of his procurement of Italian pre-teen prostitutes. "Confession Sexuelle d'un Russe du Sud" was translated into "Secret Lolita: The Confessions of Victor X" by Donald Rayfield, an emeritus professor of Russian and Georgian at Queen Mary University of London. [snip]Beam relates that Nabokov was so fond of this particular text that he wrote about it in the English ("Speak, Memory") and Russian ("Drugiye Berega") versions of his autobiography. For example, in "Speak, Memory" Nabokov wrote that the "'sexual confessions' (to be found in Havelock Ellis and elsewhere), [...] involve tiny tots mating like mad." And, according to Wilson, "Confession Sexuelle d'un Russe du Sud" "no doubt inspired 'Lolita'".

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