Re: RARA-AVIS: RE : Lolita and noir

From: Patrick King (
Date: 01 Mar 2007

Nabokov was a butterfly collector and he said Lolita was a type of butterfly he was trying to capture. He said the novel was a metaphor for his interest in butterflys. Seriously!

Patrick King
--- wrote:

> Patrick lectured me for my implication that he
> regarded humor and
> seriousness as mutually exclusive:
> "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
> it does not
> therefore follow that I think all humor has no
> substance."
> I'll allow that, however . . .
> "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.'"
> No, I do not at all understand that Lolita is not a
> funny book. I
> understand that YOU do not regard it a funny book.
> Several others have
> testified that they found Lolita very funny. And I
> have heard other
> people whose taste in and opinions of literature I
> respect claim the
> same. Is it sophistry for me to find it arrogant
> that you allow no
> correct response to the book but your own?
> "Lolita is designed to give the reader an occasional
> smile while
> considering the circumstances in life that can
> create this sort of
> dangerous situation."
> And we're back to my impression that there are some
> subjects that you
> find so weighty and serious that you could never
> regard them as funny,
> regardless of their treatment (I bet we all have
> such areas, though not
> the same ones). Pedophilia clearly seems to be such
> a subject for you.
> In a prior post, you mentioned some morbid things
> you do find funny, but
> (and excuse me if you feel I'm putting words in your
> mouth, but this is
> how I remember it) that pedophilia is too "dangerous
> [a] situation" to
> ever be funny. Hence my inferring you find some
> subjects too weighty
> for humor.
> Has Nabokov ever discussed his use of humor in the
> book? Has he ever
> said whether or not he regards Lolita as funny?
> (This is not
> rhetorical, I really don't know.)
> Mark

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