Daily Archives: 09/19/2005

Lolita at 50

Let’s keep up with the literary themes: Here’s a couple articles celebrating fifty years of Nabakov’s masterful paen to love and nymphets, Lolita.

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.

Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, a certain initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.

Now that boys and girls, that’s what we call writing. Wow. The entire novel scintillates with prose like this. It is simply incomparable, a lush delight to read. And the lurid subject matter makes it all the more enthralling. That Nabakov wrote such prose for a perverted pedophile, wow.

Climate & Kim Stanley Robinson

Via the always enjoyable World Changing, I came across a fascinating interview in the Guardian with Kim Stanley Robinson, one of my favorite current science fiction authors. He’s about to release a new novel, the second in a trilogy dealing with global warming and climate change. Fifty Degrees Below sounds enticing, especially after reading Mr. Robinson’s response to a question about U.S. culpability in global warming:

“I think the US is in a terrible state of denial,” he says firmly. “Worse than that, we seem to be caught in a kind of Gotterdammerung response: we’d rather have the world go down in flames than change our lifestyle or admit we’re wrong. Even here in California, 50% of cars on the freeway are SUVs, and they’re political statements: they say, we’re going to take the rest of the world down with us because we don’t give a damn.

Boy, you can say that again mister. There is a strong nihilistic streak in American culture, a morbid fascination with our own destruction. Movies, books, television, music, art, and science, the currents are easy to pick out.

Let me plug another fascinating interview with Mr. Robinson, this one from several years ago, following the release of his alternate history novel, The Years of Rice and Salt.