NABOKOV, Vladimir. Lolita.

(Paris): Olympia Press, 1958.  Second printing.  Paperback original.  190 and 223 pages.  Nice early example of this cult novel that started life as a simple erotic work, but soon established itself as a literary classic.  Graham Greene, in the London Sunday Times, called it one of the three best books of 1955. This statement provoked a response from the London Sunday Express, whose editor John Gordon called it “the filthiest book I have ever read” and “sheer unrestrained pornography”. British Customs officers were then instructed by the Home Office to seize all copies entering the United Kingdom. Its eventual British publication by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in London in 1959 was controversial enough to contribute to the end of the political career of the Conservative member of parliament Nigel Nicolson, one of the company’s partners. The first American edition was issued by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in August 1958. The book was into a third printing within days and became the first since Gone with the Wind to sell 100,000 copies in its first three weeks.  The novel is narrated by a middle-aged literary professor Humbert, who is obsessed with a 12-year-old girl, Dolores Haze, Humbert riddles the narrative with word play and his wry observations of American culture. The novel’s flamboyant style is characterized by double entendres, multilingual puns, anagrams, and coinages such as nymphet, a word that has since had a life of its own.  The novel abounds in allusions to classical and modern literature. Many being references to Humbert’s own favourite poet, Edgar Allan Poe.  These are very good copies in olive green wrappers, nice fresh examples.



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