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5. Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

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Published on Nov 21, 2008

The American Novel Since 1945 (ENGL 291)

Professor Amy Hungerford introduces the first of three lectures on Nabokov's Lolita by surveying students' reactions to the novel, highlighting the conflicting emotions readers feel, enjoying Nabokov's virtuosic style, but being repelled by the violence of his subject matter. Nabokov's childhood in tsarist Russia provides some foundation for his interest in memory, imagination, and language. Finally, Professor Hungerford shows how Nabokov, through the voice of his protagonist Humbert, in his own voice in the epilogue, and in the voice of "John Ray, Jr." in the foreword, preempts moral judgments in a novel that celebrates the power of the imagination and the seductive thrill of language.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Lolita: Initial Student Responses
09:49 - Chapter 2. Historical Context: A Brief Biography of Nabokov
15:33 - Chapter 3. Blurring Narrative Layers: Locating the Author in John Ray Jr.'s Forward
23:49 - Chapter 4. Seduction and Cliché
34:22 - Chapter 5. Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee"
45:54 - Chapter 6. Morality and Manipulation

Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu


This course was recorded in Spring 2008.

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