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August 9, 2007

looking for a Nabokov heroine?

Since yesterday afternoon, about 300 people have reached this site after searching on Google for the words "Nabokov" and "heroine." They are reaching an old post of mine about Lolita. I can't find any website that links to that post; all the visitors are coming straight off Google. Their IP addresses indicate that they live all over the English-speaking world, from Cape Town to California. Something must be prompting interest in this combination of two words; my wife suggests it's a crossword puzzle clue.

I often receive visitors looking for "Lolita," thanks to my article on Nabokov and various posts about him. I don't think most of these visitors are expecting to find what I provide. No pictures or videos here, just a stern reminder that Dolores Haze, Nabokov's great heroine, is an orphan child taken prisoner and raped by a middle-aged pervert. There is no evidence whatsoever that she wants to have sex with Humbert Humbert, but plenty of signs that he physically abuses her. She is remarkably resilient; Nabokov once said that he admired her more than any of his creations. It is amazing that this scion of the Russian aristocracy, educated at Cambridge, multilingual and erudite, could have made a gum-popping suburban American "tween" into his tragic heroine. Stereotypes dissolved in Nabokov's acute and humane vision.

[8/17/2009: Several people have emailed to confirm that the occasional popularity of this post is due to crossword puzzle clues that seem to pop up in different newspapers every few months. By the way, if you need a Nabokov heroine with a three-letter name, try "Ada."]

August 9, 2007 12:50 PM | category: none


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