kottke.org posts about lolita

Covering LolitaApr 19 2012

The results of a competition to design a better cover for Nabokov's Lolita are being packaged into a book due out in June.

Among the problems Nabokov's Lolita poses for the book designer, probably the thorniest is the popular misconception of the title character. She's chronically miscast as a teenage sexpot-just witness the dozens of soft-core covers over the years. "We are talking about a novel which has child rape at its core," says John Bertram, an architect and blogger who, three years ago, sponsored a Lolita cover competition asking designers to do better.

Now the contest is being turned into a book, due out in June and coedited by Yuri Leving, with essays on historical cover treatments along with new versions by 60 well-known designers, two-thirds of them women: Barbara deWilde, Jessica Helfand, Peter Mendelsund, and Jennifer Daniel, to name a few. They don't shy away from frank sexuality, but they add layers of darkness and complication. And like Jamie Keenan's cover -- a claustrophobic room that morphs into a girl in her underwear -- they provoke without asking readers to abdicate their responsibility.

Of the covers shown, Peter Mendelsund's is a favorite:

Lo Lee Ta

Nabokov on videoNov 21 2008

Watch as Vladimir Nabokov reads the first paragraph of Lolita in English & Russian, shares his favorite books, and lists a bunch of things that he doesn't like.

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.

I'm about due for a reread.

Did Vladimir Nabokov deliberately take the ideaMay 15 2006

Did Vladimir Nabokov deliberately take the idea for Lolita from a 1916 short story of the same name or did he suffer from cryptomnesia? Cryptomnesia is when you consciously forget previously learned information but subconsciously remember it. (via george, who says "It's certainly a weird concept, that an idea can have a quantum state of being both remembered and new, and one that I think deserves more attention.")

I feel like I've pointed to thisJan 31 2006

I feel like I've pointed to this before, but in case I haven't, here's a list of the 100 best first lines from novels. I'm partial to those of Pride and Prejudice, Lolita, and Anna Karenina.

Lolita was published 50 years ago and it'sDec 27 2005

Lolita was published 50 years ago and it's still as perverse now as it was then.

Tags related to lolita:
books Vladimir Nabokov

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