LOOK AT THE DOG
The original Lolita—the twelve year old Dolores Haze, protagonist of Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel—was a rather different girl. As the feminist scholar Alyssa Harad put it, “Lolita is the archetype of a special category of girl who seduces without knowing it, who works her charms unconsciously, even unwillingly, who attracts without necessarily being, in any of the most obvious ways, attractive.” It is clear in the book that she is the powerless victim of her predatory stepfather Humbert Humbert. Nabokov’s Lolita is a nuanced character whose sexuality is complex—like many preadolescent girls, she is sexually curious—but she has no control over relationship with Humbert, which is abusive and manipulative. Yet the care with which Nabokov presents her case, and his emphasis on Humbert’s malfeasance, has been overlooked in the years since the novel’s publication. It is though as the very fact of Lolita’s sexuality—the public acknowledgement that a preteen girl could be sexual, the bold focus on an incestuous liaison between grown man and little girl—has made her into a fantasy figure, an image of Humbert’s projection rather than the sexually abused and tragic figure of the novel.
had an awful argument with my dad, had lovely drinks with my best friend, had an existential crisis. all in a hard days work.