Re: RARA-AVIS: RE : Lolita and noir

From: Patrick King (
Date: 27 Feb 2007

Mark, when you do this kind of thing it's called "a strawman argument." That is, I say something and you reposition what I say to be something you, or anyone else for that matter, can easily refute. It's a form of sophistry and unworty of serious argument. When I say Nabokov uses humor in Lolita to TAKE THE EDGE OFF WEIGHTY TOPICS, etc, it does not therefore follow that I think all humor has no substance. I think Jeeves Takes Charge, for example, is a VERY weighty novel using hyperbole to make some devestaing comments about the British social system. My point, which I'm absolutely certain you fully comprehend at this juncture, is that while there is humor sprinkled throughout Lolita, Lolita is NOT, like Jeeves Takes Charge, Forest Gump, or How I Won The War, "a funny book." What Lolita and all these books mentioned have in common is that they are written to make the reader think. The latter three are designed to make the reader laugh uproariously while thinking. Lolita is designed to give the reader an occasional smile while considering the circumstances in life that can create this sort of dangerous situation.

Patrick King
--- wrote:

> Patrick:
> "First, I am not 'oblivious' to the humor in Lolita.
> I simply don't
> believe humor is the main objective of the novel as
> it is in Jeeves
> Takes Charge for example. Others have referred to
> Lolita as 'a very
> funny novel.' It is not a funny novel. It is a novel
> that is seasoned
> with mild humor to take the edge off the very
> weighty questions it poses
> about European and American society in the 1950s. .
> . ."
> I haven't read Lolita (though now I'm very
> interested), but I'm
> increasingly getting the impression you believe
> "funny" and "weighty"
> are mutually exclusive. Which is Mark Twain? Lewis
> Carroll? Jonathan
> Swift? Oscar Wilde? Or, bringing it closer to
> home, Charles Willeford?
> I see no reason something can't be both.
> Mark

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