Tag Archives: Vladimir Nabokov

Roy Moore’s Obsession with Lolitas

To understand Judge Roy Moore’s predilection for teenage girls, read “Lolita.” Like Humbert Humbert, Moore is obsessed with purity.

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Trapped in an Emergency Room

When a friend found herself suddenly trapped in a large metropolitan emergency room, Nabokov’s short story “Cloud, Castle, Lake” came to mind. It’s about a man who wants to leave travel tour and is prevented.

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Reading Lit To Find the Meaning of Life

Paul Kalinithi moves between neuroscience and literature as he tries to understand the meaning of life and death, including his own terminal disease.

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Invisible Man & Lolita Changed the ’50s

Ellison’s “Invisible Man” and Nabokov’s “Lolita” both challenged basic 1950s assumptions. The former changed public perceptions on what it meant to be black while the latter violated a tacit agreement not to go digging under neatly manicured lawns bordered by white picket fences.

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How Is Lit Useful? Let Me Count the Ways

A recent issue of “New Literary History” explores a number of ways that literature is useful.

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Arguing against Lit for Lit’s Sake

Nabokov’s aestheticism in the 1960s tried to separate literature from history.

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England’s Most Humane Novel

A new bibliomemoir on “Middlemarch” shows a book shaping a life.

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Novels: Training Ground for Citizenship

Novels have an inherently liberal dimension in that they get us to identify with people very different from us.

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Paterno’s Rapist Associate and Mr. Hyde

“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” warns us that we are in danger of becoming monsters ourselves if we don’t hold on to our humanity when responding to monsters like alleged child molester Jerry Sandusky, close associate of Coach Joe Paterno.

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Moments of Perfect Being

Today we head home after having spent a delicious week in our Maine cottage with our sons Darien and Toby, along with our daughter-in-law Betsy and Toby’s girlfriend Candice.  We immersed ourselves in memory and tradition while we were here.  Portraits of my great-great grandparents John and Remember Berry Swett, are on the wall, as […]

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Michael Jackson and Peter Pan

  “I am Peter Pan,” Michael Jackson reportedly once said, and of course he chose to name his ranch Neverland. In this second of my two posts marking Jackson’s death, I thought I would reflect upon why J. M. Barrie’s fictional creation meant so much to him. Peter Pan: The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up […]

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Iranian Women Identifying with Lolita

The kicker in the book title Reading Lolita in Iran is the shock of imagining people risking their freedom to read Nabokov’s scandalous masterpiece about an elderly writer who falls in love with twelve-year-old “nymphet” Dolores Hayes. What would anyone get out of that experience? The surprises keep on coming in Azar Nafisi’s book as […]

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