30 August 2005

An Artist And A Madman

      The Boston Globe reminds me that this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, surely one of the best works of fiction of the second-half of the 20th century.   Reading the Globe's article, I was struck that it was Graham Greene who helped bring the international edition to public attention.   Seems fitting, really, considering Greene's interest in the ways in which men destroy themselves and/or others for women that aren't as innocent as they suggest.   (Ironically, Lolita was written around the same time as Greene's The Quiet American, and the two books have more in common than one might expect.)   I have to confess, I found especially provocative Humbert Humbert's claim that to identify a nymphet "[y]ou have to be an artist and a madman, a creature of infinite melancholy, with a bubble of hot poison in your loins and a super-voluptuous flame permanently aglow in your subtle spine...."

      No comment, though RK is surely smirking somewhere, contemplating how best to opportune that quote to my embarrassment.   Let me assure you of this at least: my spine is anything but subtle.

      Now go read Lolita if you haven't done so already.   Shame I can't:   my copy seems to have vanished, probably borrowed permanently by some youn--- well, you can guess the rest.  

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