Monday 29th March - Awkward to say the least

I'm not yet sure what to make of it yet but I've just finished reading Lolita.

It tells the story of H. Humbert, a troubled professor who has an unhealthy obsession to what he terms 'nymphets'. Due to what he believes to be the result of an unconsumated affair with his childhood love, he moves to America and marries a woman in order to get closer to her twelve-year old daughter: Dolores (Lolita).

In essence, it is a tale of unrequited love. Humbert is hopelessly under Lolita's spell, and she knows this. As their 'relationship' progresses, Lolita begins to take advantage of the situation even to the point where she bribes him for sexual favours.

The book is written beautifully and details Humbert's struggle to not act on his feelings. However, when he meets Lolita he is swept away by her youthful charm. What is interesting about this book, is that Nabokov writes in a way that makes the reader feel sympathetic towards Humbert. Fully knowing that what he feels is forbidden, the reader cannot help but feel a sense of woe for him. On the other hand, even though Humbert wrestles with his desire to get close to Lolita, his efforts come to no effect and the consequences are damaging. By the end of the book, the stark realisation that Humbert should have known better, is what makes the reader realise their mask of sympathy for him was mistaken.

Shortly after I then watched the 1997 film version. I couldn't get access to the whole film online so went over to a friend's place to watch it. I thought the book was a little unsettling, but being confronted visually with the characters of Humbert and Lolita was shocking, and a little awkward to say the least (not to mention the fact that I was watching this with someone). We later found that there were deleted scenes. And for good reason too. This might make for uncomfortable viewing:

I'd highly recommend reading the book as it's a graceful peace of literature, and an interesting insight into the psyche of what one would call a 'paedophile'. I'd also suggest watching the recent re-make of the film. However you might want to watch it on your own. Just a word of warning.

To use somebody else's phrase it is 'brilliant and beautiful, yet disturbing'.

No comments:

Post a Comment