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Critical ChildrenThe Use of Childhood in Ten Great Novels$
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Richard Locke

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157834

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157834.001.0001

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Vladimir Nabokov’s Abused Nymph

Vladimir Nabokov’s Abused Nymph


(p.154) 6 Vladimir Nabokov’s Abused Nymph
Critical Children

Richard Locke

Columbia University Press

This chapter assesses the use of the child in Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (1955). The novel portrays Dolly Haze, nicknamed Lolita by her stepfather and lover Humbert Humbert, as a corrupt young girl inviting violation. It deals with child abuse and rape, leading the reader into a “moral apotheosis” of his own—a comprehension and acknowledgement of his own moral and intellectual vanity and literary sensitivity. The importance of Lolita lies in Nabokov's use of the figure of the child to demonstrate people's misperceptions and neglect, calling the attention of parents, social workers, and educators to be more vigilant in bringing up a better generation in a safer world.

Keywords:   Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, Dolly Haze, Humbert Humbert, child abuse, rape, moral apotheosis

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