Re: RARA-AVIS: RE : Lolita and noir

From: Patrick King (
Date: 12 Feb 2007

Frankly, Bob, no, I don't find those passages "funny" at all. I find them to be true and beautiful. To me the funniest part of the novel is the introduction that pretends to be written by a "psychologist" and explains that all the protagonists are dead, Lolita, herself, in child birth. That was so typical of the pseudo pornography of that era, I thought Nabokov really hit a stride with that nuance. But the passages you mention move me at best to smile and remember. They are not what I call funny.

Patrick King

--- bobav1 < rav7@COLUMBIA.EDU> wrote:

> Hi Patrick:
> Coming out of lurkdom to point you to
> for Lolita's opening. If you don't see the humor in
> "(picnic,
> lightning)", "and some interesting reactions on the
> part of my
> organism to certain photographs, pearl and umbra,
> with infinitely soft
> partings . . . " . . . actually, I was going to
> quote more, but I find
> humor all over Humbert's voice. Do you, a member of
> this listserv and
> a reader of hardboiled fiction, not find something
> funny about a
> sentence like: "You can always count on a murderer
> for a fancy prose
> style"?
> So much to say about Nabokov (and professors and
> grad students have
> made careers saying it), but humorless he ain't.
> Bob V in NYC
> PS: Pale Fire is my favorite, the most
> extraordinarily constructed
> novel (I think it's a novel?!?) I've ever read. Even
> the index has
> jokes and puzzles.
> PPS: I wouldn't consider it noir or hardboiled
> either, despite some
> notable elements.
> --- In, Patrick King
> <abrasax93@...> wrote:
> >
> > Could you possibly quote some of the especially
> > hillarious passages you recall so I can understand
> at
> > least what you mean? I remember the Catcher In The
> Rye
> > chapter in church in which a former student was
> > speaking about the fine education he'd received
> and
> > Holden was commenting on the side as causing
> > unrestrainable laughter. I never had that sort of
> > experience with Lolita.
> >
> > Patrick King

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