Lecture 5 - Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

author: Amy Hungerford, Department of English, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: April 8, 2011,   recorded: January 2008,   views: 3451
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Description

Professor Amy Hungerford introduces the first of three lectures on Nabokov's Lolita by surveying students' reactions to the novel, highlighting the conflicting emotions readers feel, enjoying Nabokov's virtuosic style, but being repelled by the violence of his subject matter. Nabokov's childhood in tsarist Russia provides some foundation for his interest in memory, imagination, and language. Finally, Professor Hungerford shows how Nabokov, through the voice of his protagonist Humbert, in his own voice in the epilogue, and in the voice of "John Ray, Jr." in the foreword, preempts moral judgments in a novel that celebrates the power of the imagination and the seductive thrill of language.

Reading assignment:

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)

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