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Stalking Nabokov$
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Brian Boyd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158572

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158572.001.0001

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Lolita: Scene and Unseen

Lolita: Scene and Unseen

Chapter:
(p.288) 21. Lolita: Scene and Unseen
Source:
Stalking Nabokov
Author(s):

Brain Boyd

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231158572.003.0021

This chapter analyzes a subscene in Vladimir Nabokov's 1955 novel Lolita—Humbert's first meeting with Lolita—and the various treatments of that scene in his screenplay (1960, 1974), in the Stanley Kubrick film (1962), in the Stephen Schiff (and Harold Pinter) screenplay, and in the Adrian Lyne film (both 1998). The author approaches Lolita by asking his undergraduate students to dwell on the subscene in the novel, and actual and possible film versions of such a scene, in order to engage the skills they already have; to block their inclination to think the film can substitute for the book; to draw on the critical independence of mind they readily exercise once shown different ways of telling the same story; and to develop their capacity to read and imagine actively. He also invites the students to draft a screenplay scene for this first glimpse of Lolita. Finally, he explains what a comparison of the five different versions of the scene in Lolita suggests about the way we should read the novel.

Keywords:   scene, Vladimir Nabokov, novel, Lolita, screenplay, Stanley Kubrick, film, Stephen Schiff, Adrian Lyne, students

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