VN COLLATION #19
How did they ever make a movie of Lolita?--Is America ready for Lolita? Why is the interrogative essential for marketing Lolita? As has already been announced on this list, RandomHouse Audio has recently released the "Unabridged, Uncensored" 12 hour, 8 cassette reading of Nabokov's Lolita by Jeremy Irons. Irons does a superb job of rendering through intonation and phrasing Humbert's subtle diabolism and supreme blindness. Several reviews have appeared, not the least of which is Jeff Edmunds' blurb in Zembla
In the April 18 Entertainment Weekly it was called: "the bedtime story of the week." Ben Harte, in the May 12 People Weekly, said:
Jeremy Iron's air of faintly arid detachment and a penchant for the minor key add up to an ideal match for Vladimir Nabokov's mordant and melancholy classic.
Favorable reviews appeared in both the March 3 Publisher's Weekly and the April 15 Library Journal.
Not only songs with Lolita as a theme (See NABOKV-L post , 4/14/97, "Lolitology in Song & Worse") but an entire genre of music called "Lolita Music" apparently exists. At the web site devoted to the Slovenian band Lolita 95, a hint at the origins of this musical type is found in the explanation of the band's name.
Below are the URLs for several songs that fall into this category. I have included a representative lyric from each song. http://www.student.lu.se:80/~RAS95ADE/gillan/disco/lyrics/swe.htm
I don't want youhttp://www.corpcomm.net:80/~lejacobs/sordid/lyrics/Lolita.html (website no longer exists)
and it smells like razor blades
Loli-con, or the Lolita Complex, the Japanese name for a prevalent psychological complex in which middle-aged men obsess over school-aged girls is discussed in the April 20 New York Times. Japanese men participate in club activities reminiscent of those offered at the establishments of David Veen.
This is an ''image club,'' one of several hundred in Tokyo where Japanese men pay about $150 an hour to live out their fantasies about schoolgirls. In this club, customers can choose from 11 rooms, including classrooms, a school gym changing room, and a couple of imitation railway coaches, where, to the recorded roar of a commuter train, men can molest strangers in school uniforms.
Actress Drew Barrymore, originally famous for her juvenile role in Steven Spielberg's film, ET: The Extraterrestrial said in a People Magazine Online profile:
"..Sue Lyons, ( whom she saw at age six in the film Lolita) was an inspiration: ...She was so [bleeping] sexy in that movie.... Every little detail I totally grooved on. Lolita became, like, this idol thing, you know? I totally fell into it."FASHION
The association of Lolita with fashion and fashions has been documented, perhaps to the point of tedium. On the web page for the fashion house Lolita Lempicka, one more example of this connection is again encountered.
The two excerpts below treat the Nabokov and fashion theme in an unconventional manner and they are in "elegant correspondence" with Ada's twin colors blue and green.
From the April 13, 1997 Feature section of the Times of London, in the section "25 years ago this week" a letter Nabokov wrote to Kate Rand Lloyd, editor of American Vogue on April 13, 1972 is reproduced:
I thank you for sending me a copy of the April 15 issue of Vogue...Simona Morini's questions are admirable and my replies to them are reproduced with a rare fidelity--to which I am not accustomed in most published interviews. The pictures, alas, are not as good as the text.
In the April 20 Observer, the fashion writer advises:
If you wear red you're sexy, and if you wear black you're chic. But what is a woman in blue? Blue is elusive as well as sexy; it's soft as well as smart. In Vladimir Nabokov's novel The Gift, the hero is looking round a lodging house, wondering whether to stay, when he sees in one room 'a high-backed armchair: across its arms there lay in airy repose a gauze dress, pale bluish and very short'. Suddenly falling in love with the dress, or the girl who would wear such a dress, he takes the room.NABOKOV PERSONAE
"Gonzo" journalist, Hunter S. Thompson, in an interview published in the November 28, 1996 Rolling Stone, offered a typically skewed and one would assume intentionally spurious second-hand account of Nabokov's travels to SunValley, Idaho. These outings, Thompson suggested, made it possible for Nabokov to write "from experience" , while composing Lolita.
"it was investigative journalism..I am new and rare" You were after all looking into things: albeit those things don't exist....(NABOKV-L EDITOR'S INTERPOLATION [dbj]. VN had left the US for what proved to be permanent European residency in Sept. 1959. He briefly returned to write his Lolita script for Kubrick (May-October 1961) and for the Lolita film premier in June 1962.)
A student's request for unpublished papers on the autobiographical theme in Nabokov's Mary, was duly admonished when it was posted on NABOKV-L. The same request, which must have been crossposted to several lists, provoked this amusing and clever response on some newsgroup, the name of which is no longer traceable since the file has disappeared from its original site on the Internet:
"I am writing an English paper on Nabokov's use of his own life and experiences in his work Mary (Mashen'ka). If you have an unpublished term paper, essay, thesis, etc. PLEASE send it to me. If it has internal citations and a bibliography (works cited) page that is even better. Anything would be very helpful. Thank you."
In this vein, the writer goes on to tell of Nabokov's immigration from Uzbekistan to America where he meets a young girl by the name of Mary. Together they become information brokers and insurance agents until this becomes tiresome and the pair " hop.. a riverboat on the Hudson and decide... to head off to the Mississippi." Upon arrival in New Orleans, they purchase their own Mississippi Riverboat. Throughout the "post" are threaded the lyrics to the Ike and Tina Turner song "Proud Mary." The note ends with an amiable "hope this helps!"
Nabokov's works are sometimes used in class assignments to explore the use of "new technologies" in the creation of art.
Graphic designer Angelyn Grant's course at MIT, Expressive Typography and New Media, consisted of students ranging from undergraduates to graduates, from various disciplines , who during a one month winter session, meeting 3 times a week, used Nabokov's short story "Signs and Symbols" to produce an experimental, online "book." Projects extended from the creation of simple HTML text to "live action" typography utilizing motion and color to express individualized interpretations of the story. Starting with the assumption that the reader of the "book" had already read "Signs and Symbols" the "expressive typography" and "metaphoric reading structures" were designed to offer insights into the story and "aid the reader in further exploring the work."
Some of these projects require special software for viewing. Sophisticated design technique and a sensitivity to the nuances of Nabokov's story, make perusing these "books" worthwhile.
In a Hypertext and Literary Theory course offered at Brown University in 1993, Jason Hammel, for his class project, used the plotline of Pale Fire to further illustrate the questions of authorship and ownership of text that Pale Fire itself addresses.
I chose to do another rewriting of V.N.'s book. I invented a New Year's Eve party at which various university types--none, though, from the novel--flirt, sip champagne, and gossip about Shade's new poem. Kinbote is, of course, present but no where to be found--he is rummaging through Shade's things for evidence that Sybil, John's wife, had ordered the poet to rewrite sections which chronicled Kinbote's own royal adventures.
Throughout the many volumes of criticism that I have read on Nabokov, I have never seen this metaphor used to describe Nabokov's concept of "reading" :
From SpikeNABOKOVIAN TRIVIA
From Cosmopolitan, March 1997, the section entitled "The moment I knew I was in love"
"He knew the first chapter of Lolita by heart. One night he pulled out my copy and without opening it, started reciting. Those are my favorite pages of anything I've ever read." ---Julie, 29, writer
Zembla depends on frames for navigation. If you have been referred to this page without the surrounding frame, click here.